Aoun Calls for Gradual Return of Syrian Refugees

Aoun Calls for Gradual Return of Syrian Refugees

Thursday, 8 March, 2018 - 11:00
President Michel Aoun meets UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. Dalati and Nohra photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for the gradual return of Syrian refugees to their home country regardless of a political solution in Syria.

Lebanon is “no longer able to handle the burden” of refugees, Aoun said during a meeting Wednesday at Baabda Palace with Filippo Grandi, the head of the United Nations’ refugee agency.

The international community “must help ease the gradual return of these displaced people to safe areas of Syria that are no longer seeing any fighting,” Aoun said. But he stressed that the return of the refugees should not be linked to a political solution in their country.

There are nearly 1 million UN-registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Aoun stressed that international support for Lebanon to be a global center for the dialogue of religions and civilizations is growing.

There is ongoing cooperation with the UN to achieve that objective, said the president.

Grandi briefed Aoun on the role of the UNHCR in Lebanon, praising Lebanon’s care for the refugees and stressing the importance of the Brussels conference on the support for states and communities that are hosting displaced Syrians.

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