Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, has issued a warning over the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanon, which is felt at every level of society, and offers economic and social challenges to Lebanon.
On the upset caused by the massive influx of asylum seekers into Lebanon, Hariri noted that it is most evident in the naturally occurring tensions created between host communities and refugees, a matter that potentially threatens Lebanon’s already fragile stability.
Hariri was speaking on Thursday March 14th, at the European Union’s conference in Brussels on the future of Syria. He stressed that the Lebanese government is aware of the need to move forward with reforms to improve the economic situation, and to create more jobs. He added that the government will also have to take tough decisions to reduce public debt.
With Lebanon hosting globally the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita, its burdened services infrastructure cannot absorb the challenges posed by the refugee crisis, without financial help from the international community.
“We need to ensure the necessary funding for Lebanon’s Crisis Response Plan, therefore we ask for $2.9 billion, and we must guarantee stability for the long term projects,” he stated.
This week’s “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” conference in Brussels, provides an important opportunity to refocus international attention on the devastating Syrian conflict, and its burden on neighbouring countries who are hosting Syrian refugees, and the need for large financial donations to help refugees and host countries in the region.
Hariri also announced that his cabinet remains committed to working with the U N agencies within the framework of any initiative that ensures the safe return of the Syrian refugees, including the Russian initiative.
“Amid all the challenges facing Lebanon and the region, we must not forget that the only solution for the refugee crisis is the safe return to their country in accordance with international agreements,” Hariri said, pointing out that Lebanon can no longer bear the economic and social burden of hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees.
The Lebanese premier expressed his gratitude for the support already received from members of the international community. He noted that his country has been committed to the requirements of the previous Brussels conference, which would not have been possible without international support.