Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called on world leaders to “contribute to the safe return of the displaced” to Syria.
“This displacement has posed a serious threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda in Lebanon and led to the aggravation of its economic crisis”, Aoun told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
He added that its consequences also affected the country’s infrastructure and increased the unemployment rate.
“Addressing this crisis is certainly not the sole responsibility of Lebanon,” he underlined, but a “shared international responsibility…for all of us to collaborate together to urgently find solutions”.
Aoun went on to say: “The international community cannot content itself with providing minimum assistance to the displaced and refugees in their regions of displacement only, while excluding programs for their safe and dignified return.”
Noting that the security situation in most of Syria has become stable and that military confrontations were confined to the Idlib region, the Lebanese president said that Syria “has officially welcomed the return of its displaced citizens.”
Aoun also cautioned against the danger of reducing the services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which he said would cause more social and financial pressure on the refugees and the Lebanese.
On a different note, Aoun stressed that the Israeli violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 “have never stopped, as well as the continued attacks on Lebanese sovereignty by land, sea and air.”
“Lebanon is a peace-loving country and is committed to Resolution 1701. However, our commitment does not cancel our natural and legitimate right to self-defense by all available means,” he emphasized.