Lebanese PM calls on UN to help secure safe return of Syrian refugees
The United Nations should help Lebanese authorities secure a safe return for Syrian refugees to their homeland, Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday.
Mikati told Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the Grand Serail that “this issue remains a pressure factor on Lebanon at a time when the country no longer has the financial and political capacity to bear the repercussions of this matter.”
Mikati stressed that “the priority at this stage is to return the displaced Syrians gradually to their country as the situation has stabilized in Syria.”
For his part, Grandi agreed with Mikati about the incredible pressure imposed on Lebanon for hosting an enormous number of Syrian refugees, assuring that the United Nations will increase its humanitarian support for the Lebanese people and everyone in the country.
Grandi said that UNHCR is working with Syrian authorities to remove obstacles preventing the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, adding some of the challenges included destroyed houses and a difficult economic situation.
“We have made some progress, but there is still more work to be done for people to be confident in deciding to return,” he noted.
Lebanon is hosting the largest number of refugees per capita, with the government estimating 2 million Syrian refugees.
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