The National Bloc: Government’s “No-Plan Approach” to the Syrian refugee crisis

The National Bloc released the following statement:

The renewed governmental clashes that erupted in the aftermath of the visit of Caretaker Minister of Displaced Issam Sharafeddine to Damascus indicates the lack of responsibility of the executive authority in dealing with the file.

The quarrel that followed the visit of Minister Sharafeddine on the one hand, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar on the other, is the best proof why successive governments have failed to develop any plan to address the Syrian refugee crisis, which has taken a particularly heavy toll on Lebanon's delicate social economic and political balance.

The prevailing art of condoning each other's role and responsibilities falls first within the deceptions, misinformation, and word games officials use to mislead the public about their contribution to the crisis, specifically Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war and its direct impact on the influx of Syrians refugees to Lebanon. Second, the primacy of political and material interests over the formulation of any sustainable plan to ensure the safe and dignified return of refugees to their homeland. Announcing the repatriation of 15,000 refugees per month is only part of the political bazaar ahead of the presidential elections.

Addressing the refugee crisis is related to Lebanese national security, and requires a long-term plan in parallel with a foreign policy based on clarity among the Lebanese about Hezbollah's military role in Syria first; Second, establishing bilateral relations with all countries particularly Syria and international organizations based on the principle of equal treatment.

Therefore, it is crucial to;

1- Conduct an unbiased statistic to all Syrian residing in Lebanon in order to classify them according to objective criteria and determine the reasons for their presence in Lebanon.

2- Sign a bilateral agreement between Syria and Lebanon, under international and UN supervision, that guarantees the safe and dignified return of refugees.

3- Request direct international and Arab support to compensate Lebanon for the economic and social costs of Syrian refugees.

Only a clear policy based on prioritizing the national interest and humanitarian principles over the narrow personal and factional ambitions would contain the repercussions of the refugee crisis and secure their return. As for the futile media propaganda and racist statements exchanged at all levels, they only deepen the crisis and bring more problems not solutions.

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