Bassil Warns Direct Assistance to Refugees Encourages their Stay in Lebanon

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil warned on Tuesday that direct assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon would contribute to their stay in Lebanon, suggesting aid to the Lebanese government instead.

During a press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin, Bassil said: “The number of displaced Syrians has exceeded the logic.”

The Lebanese state needs a direct assistance to resolve this case, he said.

Bassil warned following the talks with the German FM that direct assistance to the displaced would encourage them to stay in Lebanon after the end of the war in Syria.

The number of refugees who have fled Syria and registered in Lebanon has exceeded 1 million, according to the U.N.

Bassil said he will meet Steinmeier in Beirut on May 30.

The German FM said during the press conference that Lebanon is the country most suffering from the burden of the Syrian refugees.

“It now faces the most difficult mission in containing the huge number of the displaced and meeting their needs, he said.

Steinmeier promised a bigger role for Berlin to resolve the problem.

“We tried to help by welcoming 10,000 Syrian refugees in Germany,” he said after Berlin granted the exiles two-year residence permits. It said it could extend them if the war in Syria continues.

The U.N. refugee agency on Sunday rebuked donors for not doing enough to help millions of Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them, saying the crisis demanded "massive support."

"There must be massive support from the international community at the level of government budgets and development projects related to education, health, water and infrastructure,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

On Monday, Bassil urged Berlin to assist the army in its “war on terror.”

He met with Kristof Hausken, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's political and diplomatic adviser, and Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn.

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