Strong Lebanon Says Govt. Must be '1 Team' on Refugee File
The Free Patriotic Movement-led Strong Lebanon bloc on Tuesday said the government should act as “one team” on the thorny issue of Syrian refugees.
“There should not be conflicting goals for those working on the refugee file and the objective is the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country,” MP Ibrahim Kanaan said after the bloc's weekly meeting.
“The efforts must converge and the government should be one team in this regard,” Kanaan added.
“All disputes are irrelevant in the face of this national goal that is strategic at the political, economic, demographic and security levels. This should be our top priority,” the lawmaker went on to say.
He also urged all parties and components of the government and parliament to rise the level of the “major challenge that we are all facing as Lebanese.”
The country has witnessed controversy in recent days over the issue of the exclusion of State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib from a delegation that will represent Lebanon at the Brussels conference on refugees.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday blasted a statement issued by Gharib, adding that “it is prohibited to have political disputes over this issue.”
Gharib had on Sunday issued a stern statement, lamenting that “some political parties are acting against the desired patriotic approach and there is insistence on returning to the policies of the previous government on the refugee file.”
“All norms have been breached in the issue of the Brussels conference invitations,” the minister said.
“Overlooking the role of the State Ministry for Refugee Affairs regarding the Brussels conference is not disregard for me as a person but rather for the alternative way of thinking and serious approach that we have adopted in addressing this file in order to secure the return” of the refugees to their country, Gharib added.
“We will not tolerate this at all,” the minister warned.