Report: Salam Plans to Meet with EU Officials over Refugee Crisis

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Prime Minister Tammam Salam is planning to visit Brussels in December to discuss with European Union officials the burden of Syrian refugees, An Nahar daily reported on Friday.

Salam is mulling to discuss with the European officials promised assistance to Lebanon, which is hosting around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, said the newspaper.

The PM headed on Thursday a meeting for the ministerial committee tasked with following up the refugee crisis.

The conferees heard from Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq that the flow of refugees saw a huge drop after the government’s decision last month to stop the entry of more displaced Syrians except in what authorities deemed to be "exceptional" cases.

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas told al-Liwaa newspaper that the committee discussed several other issues, including ways to allow the Lebanese government to enjoy part of the funds that the refugees are receiving from the United Nations.

Last month, Syria's neighbors, including Lebanon, urged European countries to open their doors to more refugees from the 3 ½ year civil war, and for immediate financial and technological help as their infrastructures buckle under the massive influx of civilians fleeing the conflict.

More than 3 million people have fled Syria because of the conflict, mostly to neighboring countries. Another 6 million are displaced within Syria.

Salam told the Berlin conference of foreign ministers and representatives from 40 nations that the status quo was unsustainable.

In addition to placing huge strains on the country's hospitals, schools and other institutions, the refugees also are taking jobs from Lebanese workers, creating resentment, he said.

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