Lebanon accuses Arab League of failing Syrian refugees
Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour criticized Monday the Arab League over its response to the growing number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon but praised the regional organization over its stance on the planned Geneva 2 conference on Syria.
“I believe that the [case of refugees] has not received enough attention from the Arab League,” Abu Faour said during a meeting for the Arab Childhood Committee held in Beirut.
“The league has already held a meeting for Arab foreign ministers to discuss means to support Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and other non-Arab countries in handling the burdens of the Syrian and the Palestinian-Syrian refugees but unfortunately the response of the Arab countries, and ultimately the Arab League, has not been at the required level,” he added.
Abu Faour expressed hope that the committee would recommend and urge the members of Arab League “to give the matter the attention it deserves because the issue is not just related to the current crisis but to the future of Syria which is an Arab country.”
Lebanon has repeatedly appealed for help from the Arab League and the international community to help it cope with the influx of Syrians fleeing violence in their country.
The total number of Syrian refugees receiving assistance from the UNHCR and its partners is 812,000 but the Lebanese government estimates the real number of Syrians in the country at more than 1 million.
Abu Faour also hailed the Arab League over its stance regarding the planned Geneva 2 conference.
“We thank the Arab League for its stance over the crisis of the Syrian people, and particularly the Arab Foreign Ministers’ meeting yesterday, that supported the demands of the Syrian people that Geneva II would be based on the items of the Geneva I conference,” he said.
Abu Faour cited the items of the Geneva I conference, mainly “the establishment of a transitional government that ensures the safety of the Syrian people and their aspiration for a diverse democratic regime that joins all the factions of the people.”
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said in comments Sunday that an extraordinary meeting of the regional body in the Egyptian capital sought to encourage Syria’s opposition to attend the U.S. and Russian-backed Geneva II talks.
Syria's opposition has refused to attend unless President Bashar Assad's resignation is on the table, a demand rejected by Damascus.