Unified plan between Lebanon and Arab countries for communication with Damascus on refugees

Najib Mikati chairs Cabinet session - May 28, 2024 (Lebanese National News Agency)

Najib Mikati chairs Cabinet session - May 28, 2024 (Lebanese National News Agency)

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The head of the Lebanese caretaker government, Najib Mikati, said today, Tuesday, May 28, that Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib presented, during his participation in the Brussels 8th Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region on Monday, a clear and specific work plan to organize the file of “displaced” Syrians in Lebanon.

According to the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), the plan adopted by the Lebanese government and Parliament involves coordination between various ministries and concerned agencies within specific timeframes.

During the Brussels Conference, Lebanon requested the initiation of an early recovery plan in Syria, separating the issue of the “displaced” from political considerations, and finding safe areas in Syria to begin their return.

Additionally, the Lebanese Foreign Minister made contact with Arab ministers from countries hosting Syrian refugees, namely Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt, agreeing on a unified plan to communicate with the Syrian side and support early recovery in Syria. He also emphasized the necessity of support and assistance to encourage Syrians to return to their country.

According to Mikati, Lebanon reached an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on all the points raised by Lebanon, most notably the handover of all data held by the commission concerning “displaced” Syrians.

On Monday, parties participating in the Brussels 8th Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region pledged financial assistance worth 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in grants and loans to aid Syrians, during the donor ministerial conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

The European Union also pledged an additional 560 million euros for 2025 for host countries (Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq), in addition to a commitment to provide 1 billion euros to support Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The ministerial meeting was based on the results of the Day of Dialogue, which took place on April 30, attended by more than 600 participants from Syrian civil society organizations from Syria, neighboring countries, and diasporas, alongside the United Nations, EU member states, partner countries, and international NGOs.

Despite Lebanon’s efforts to gain European recognition that Syria is safe to facilitate the repatriation of Syrian refugees, the European Union confirmed that Syria is not safe.

Lebanon repeatedly emphasizes through its officials that it cannot bear the burden of Syrian refugees on its territory and has resorted to organizing voluntary return convoys for over a year, recently resuming these efforts.

 

 

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