by Asharq Al-AwsatBeirut-A seminar organized by Lebanon’s Maronite League is expected
to adopt several recommendations that encourage the return of Syrian
refugees to their country. The officials who participated in the seminar, which concluded on
Friday, are now working on issuing the recommendations early next week.
They include the importance of “finding practical solutions to the
refugee crisis and its repercussions, and coming up with decisions that
can be implemented.”
Among the participants were United Nations Special Coordinator for
Lebanon Sigrid Kaag, representatives of U.N. agencies, international law
experts and organizations that work on Syrian refugee affairs. During the seminar, there were converging viewpoints on the right of
the displaced Syrians to return home, particularly after the creation of
safe zones in Syria.
The head of the Maronite League, Antoine Klimos, told Asharq Al-Awsat
newspaper that the Lebanese “can no longer stand still as the refugee
He said the Lebanese should “find solutions, or at least limit the damage caused by the crisis.”
Klimos, who is the former head of the Beirut Bar Association, said
the Maronite League fully understands the humanitarian and social
conditions of the refugees and deals with the issue in an ethical way.
“Yet Lebanon’s interest should precede any other interest,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“The current circumstances allow the return of the majority of the
refugees to their country,” said Klimos. “Those supporting the Syrian
regime can return to areas falling under the control of the regime,
while the people who back the opposition can go to rebel-held zones.”
Klimos stressed that the Maronite League will follow up the matter
with U.N. agencies and will provide Lebanon’s delegation to the General
Assembly in New York with the recommendations that are expected to be
issued on Tuesday.
The seminar focused on the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis
on Lebanon’s economy and the labor force, in addition to its negative
effects on social issues and the country’s security.
Participants also discussed the consequences of the crisis on Lebanon’s tourism sector.
In addition to shedding light on the damages caused by the refugee
problem, they urged the Lebanese state to better organize the Syrian
labor force and impose taxes and Syrian workers.
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