Lebanese Minister denies reports of World Bank loans
Syrian refugees, a widow and her two children, eat a meal in their tent at a refugee camp in Lenanon (AFP/JOSEPH EID)
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Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour rejected on Saturday reports saying that the World Bank will grant Lebanon, instead of donations, soft loans to help it confront the Syrian refugees crisis
“The matter hasn't been proposed yet,” Abou Faour said in comments published in An Nahar.
He pointed out that a trust fund was established to manage the financial assistance received from donor countries and international organizations to confront the mounting Syrian refugees crisis.
“We will not accept the loans proposal and increase the burden of the public debt on citizens,” Abou Faour said.
He called on the donor countries to assume its responsibilities and commit to its obligations regarding the Syrian people “to confront the crime they are subjected to on the hands of the Syrian regime.”
“The useless statements should end,” Abou Faour said.
The government is expected to address during a meeting for the Higher Defense Council on Monday the new entry controls that will be imposed on the Syrians fleeing the turmoil in the neighboring country.
Many Syrian refugees are forced to sleep rough on the streets because they can not afford to rent somewhere to live.
But the presence of 600,000 alongside a population of just four million has sparked mounting friction.
A recent opinion poll found that 54 percent of respondents believed Lebanon should close its doors to the refugees. A full 82 percent said that the refugees were stealing jobs from Lebanese.
The conflict that erupted in Syria in March 2011 has spilled over the border into Lebanon where supporters and opponents of the Damascus regime have clashed frequently.