Lebanon Labor Minister: We are afraid of the Syrian refugees remaining in Lebanon

Orient Net - Agencies 2016-05-24 05:24:00

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Lebanon Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi reaffirmed his staunch opposition to the naturalization of Syrians in Lebanon Monday, voicing fears that a delayed solution to Syria’s conflict would prolong the refugee crisis in Lebanon.

“We are afraid of the Syrian refugees remaining in Lebanon, not because of the UN’s politics or of the report issued by the UN Secretary General , but because of the Syrian (refugee) status in Lebanon and the Syrian war,” Azzi said, Al Bawaba reported.

The minister made his remarks during a joint press conference with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag.

He added that “the obstruction of political and necessary military solutions in Syria will make the Syrians staying in Lebanon a possibility, and the Lebanese must work to prevent this, not only to protect Lebanon but Syria also."

The report Azzi was referring to was one presented by Ban at the UN General Assembly earlier this month. The report, titled “In safety and dignity: addressing large movements of refugees and migrants,” calls on UN member states to resettle refugees to ease the burden on host communities.

The report in fact mentions the “resettlement,” and not naturalization, of refugees seven times. It does not specify Syrians, but speaks of refugees in general.

Kaag for her part stressed that there was no intention of naturalizing Syrian refugees in Lebanon, announcing two current options the refugees and host countries had.

“Right now there is the option of voluntary return to Syria or voluntary repatriation to other countries. We acknowledge Lebanon’s generosity in hosting the refugees, and the great financial burdens Lebanon is incurring as a result of this,” Kaag said, The Daily Star reported.