Middle East

Lebanon will not accept existence of Syria refugees without EU roadmap

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib announced on Friday that Lebanon might not continue to host displaced Syrians if Europe fails to adopt a clear roadmap to return them home, Anadolu Agency reported.

“We have been hosting refugees for nearly 11 years, while the Europeans still do not have a clear roadmap to end this crisis,” Bou Habib expressed.

Bou Habib said Lebanon could no longer tolerate the presence of a massive number of displaced Syrians on its territories, which has weighed heavily on the country’s economy and society.

Lebanon is one long tale of disaster and crisis – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“All we want from international organisations is to stop paying refugees in Lebanon while assisting them upon their return to their homeland,” he stressed.

Bou Habib’s remarks came in a presidential statement issued after he briefed the president on his recent visits to Washington, New York and Brussels.

In April, a government committee confirmed that the country would not be able to bear the massive number of Syrian refugees.

Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita, with a government estimate of 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

The country is suffering a steep financial crisis that has plunged more than 74 per cent of the population into poverty.

On 9 May, the Lebanese welfare minister said that the issue of displaced Syrians inflicted losses to the country estimated at $30 billion, calling for the international community to pay compensation.

Lebanese officials have several times stated that their country has been unable to control illegal immigration through the Mediterranean to Europe, which is calling on Lebanon to stop immigrants sailing via its coasts.

READ: New Lebanon MP under criticism over calling for ‘genocide’ of Syrians

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