Lebanon ‘Won’t Wait for Political Solution’ in Syria to Resolve Refugee Crisis

Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
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Lebanon ‘Won’t Wait for Political Solution’ in Syria to Resolve Refugee Crisis

Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo
Lebanese President Michel Aoun heads the cabinet session at Baabda Palace. Dalati and Nohra photo

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that the country would not wait for a political solution in Syria to resolve the problem of displaced Syrians, stressing that Lebanon should defend the nation’s interest.

“It is essential that Lebanon’s position on the refugee issue be unified, especially with regard to realizing that the consequences of this issue will fall on Lebanon and they entail many security, political and socio-economic risks,” Aoun said during a cabinet session he chaired at Baabda Palace on Friday.

According to a statement read by Information Minister Melhem Riachi, Aoun said. “We will not wait for a political solution or a security solution for the Syrian crisis. We are duty-bound to defend the interests of our nation."

The president met this week with representatives of the European Union, the Arab League and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in Beirut. He told the international envoys he wanted to find ways for the refugees to return safely.

During Friday's session, the cabinet appointed boards of directors for six state hospitals.

In his briefing, Riachi said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri also spoke about the refugee crisis.

The issue of refugees “is causing socio-economic, political and security consequences on the Lebanese situation,” Hariri said. “But we should deal with this burden in a way that we preserve Lebanon’s interests.”

He added that a ministerial committee tasked with pursuing the refugee crisis would meet next week to examine a working paper prepared by the interior and foreign ministries before presenting it to the government.

During the session, both Aoun and Hariri lauded parliament’s adoption of the 2017 state budget. The president also called for a swift approval of the draft 2018 budget.



Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
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Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government "does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins," the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.