President Michel Aoun Tuesday called out the international community for not providing enough support to help Lebanon bear the weight of the Syrian refugee crisis.
In a speech at the European parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, Aoun said, "In a country with a small area and dense population and limited resources, suffering from weak infrastructure and increased unemployment, you must easily realize the extent of the burden we are shouldering, at a time when the international community did not bear its responsibilities to support Lebanon in mitigating the impact of this displacement, based on the principle of sharing burdens and responsibilities among states.”
Following Aoun’s speech, Antonio Tajani, the parliament's president, said he believes that Syrians should return to their hometowns and villages. He expressed support for the urgent need to facilitate the return of refugees without waiting for a political solution to the 7-year-old Syrian crisis. This is the stance Lebanon has adopted and that Aoun expressed hope for in his speech.
Aoun’s visit to France comes as Lebanese General Security has coordinated several refugee returns with the Syrian government, even as the country’s competing political sides debate the extent to which the government should engage with the Syrian regime.
Aoun arrived in France Monday on an official three-day visit, at the invitation of Tajani. Following the speech, Aoun went to meet with officials. A lunch is also scheduled to be held in Aoun’s honor, after which the president will visit the National School of Administration and meet with its director, Patrick Gerard.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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