Lebanon’s Roukoz Proposes 3 Solutions to Speed Up Return of Displaced
Member of Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc MP Chamel Roukoz underlined the need for Syrian refugees to return to their homeland, especially that most Syrian territories were now safe and stable.
“The displaced fled their homes due to certain security conditions; with the return of stability to the largest part of Syrian territories, it is time for them to return to their country,” Roukoz said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.
He noted that Lebanon’s experience with Palestinian refugees was not encouraging, also with internally displaced Lebanese during the war, because the majority of those were late to return to their villages, and some of them stayed.
The international community and the United Nations organizations should encourage the return of the Syrians to their country, not discourage them, according to Roukoz, who said: “The UNHCR tells them that there is no security, no stability, and no safe areas in Syria, which is not true.”
He went on to say: “Many have returned to Idlib as well as government-controlled areas, which account for about 80 percent of all Syrian territories; that in addition to the reconciliation process under the auspices of the Russians, which is supposed to be a catalyst for their return.”
“Lebanon is no longer able to absorb the consequences of the Syrian emigration due to the great pressure on infrastructure and the struggle for jobs," said Roukoz, the newly elected deputy, who is the son-in-law of President Michel Aoun and the former chief of the Lebanese Army commandos.
“There are 35,000 Lebanese university graduates, while the labor market cannot cope with more than 5,000,” he stated.
Roukoz put forward three proposals to ensure a speedy return of the displaced: “Direct contact with the Syrian government through the director general of General Security or others; the adoption of the method used in the south, which in this case would be the holding of meetings between representatives of Lebanon, Syria and the United Nations. The third method is to assign Moscow with the refugee file to complete their return.”
“Let them choose the way they deem fit; what’s important for us is to secure their return,” he added.
The new deputy talked about stalling in the formation of the government, which he said was due to the demands of some of the blocs of quotas exceeding their parliamentary size.
“The country’s economy is not good; economic incentives are needed,” he said, stressing the importance of implementing the projects adopted at the CEDRE conference and fighting corruption.
“The people are also required to take progressive positions to urge officials to carry out their duties,” he added.