Beirut, Lebanon – Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil stated on Thursday that Lebanon still has diplomatic relations with the Syrian Government as they “need to collaborate” to reduce refugees’ number which has reached 1.3 million in Lebanon.
Bassil confirmed that both Lebanon and Syria suffer the same dangers; “We need to consider these problems, especially the problem of Syrian refugees, without participating in their civil conflict.”
The Lebanese FM pointed out that his government needs to have a serious plan to reduce the number of Syrian refugees “that was less than one million during the rule of the former government in Lebanon”.
“We need to prevent non-refugee Syrians from getting into Lebanon,” Bassil said.
He also asserted the importance of adopting a governmental policy that allows the Lebanese municipalities to help security forces in monitoring refugees and involving them in development programmes.
Bassil totally disagreed with establishing refugee camps for Syrian in Lebanon.
“Many parties tried to convince us (the government) to establish camps, but we refused, as we think it is an attempt to permanently settle Syrians in Lebanon.”
Commenting on the Minister’s statement, Syrian journalist Abdullah al-Haj said: “Syrians are trying to leave Lebanon by any means as they are being arrested and expelled, and their tents are being burnt.”
“Many Syrians applied at the UNHCR to leave Lebanon, even if a country like Mozambique could be an alternative,” al-Haj told ARA News.
Al-Haj wondered if Bassil had witnessed the way Lebanese security deals with Syrians at the border crossings; “it is shameful and will not be eradicated from the history and the memory of Syrians.”
Bassil is a member in the “8 March Alliance” that includes Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun. The group is reportedly known for its close ties with the Syrian regime.
Reporting by: Adel Hassan
Source: ARA News
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