BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Monday called on the international community to establish a detailed roadmap to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to their homeland.
Speaking at a summit on refugees and migrants on the sidelines of the 71st meeting of United Nations General Assembly in New York, the PM laid out a five-point plan to ease Lebanon’s burden of more than 1 million Syrian refugees.
Lebanon faces collapse if the international community doesn’t exert further efforts to help Lebanon, he said, addressing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Salam called for a plan to return refugees to Syria, as well as a mechanism to fund it, within three months.
"The plan should be implemented immediately when the circumstances allow," he added.
Other countries’ responsibility towards Syrian refugees should be determined before the end of the year, he continued.
The massive influx of refugees has afflicted Lebanon with “serious stability, economy and infrastructure problems that are being exacerbated with time,” he said.
He called for an intensive funding drive locally and regionally, and a campaign to assist the U.N. refugee agency in performing its duties towards Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Salam also called for a report on the payments that donor countries have made so far.
"When will the world do anything for Lebanon," he asked. "When will the U.N. mobilize serious efforts to aid refugees?"
The issue of what to do about the world's 65.3 million displaced people took center stage at the General Assembly with leaders from the U.N.'s 193-member states converging on New York for the first-ever summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.
Just over 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon are registered with the U.N., but the actual number is believed to be much higher.
Lebanese complain that the huge influx of Syrians has strained their country's economy and infrastructure, with some officials urging world leaders to help end the crisis.
Accompanied by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Lebanon's ambassador to the U.N. Nawaf Salam, the premier met with Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, the Arab League secretary-general, on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting.
The PM later met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Source & Link : The Daily Star