Radical members among the displaced people threatens Lebanon’s security and culture.
Bassil: It is our duty to help the Syrians
(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)
Energy Minister Gebran Bassil held a televised press conference on Saturday in which he tackled the issue of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and its repercussions.
In this context, Bassil stated that Lebanon's position regarding the Syrian crisis is clear and is translated by providing humanitarian aid and remaining isolated from its consequences.
“It is our duty to help the Syrians whether they’ve helped in the past or not”, he affirmed.
The minister then added: “We were accused of racism, sectarianism and being inhuman for tackling the issue of the Syrian refugees as it is, which made our worries grow.”
“Racism is between red and yellow, white and black but not between two peoples from the same color and confessions,” Bassil stressed.
“How could we be sectarian when the Syrian refugees are Christians and Muslims? How could we be racist when we have common things with the Syrian people?,” he wondered.
The minister justified his calls for evicting Syrian and Palestinian refugees while stemming the influx of further others into Lebanon on grounds of "government neutrality" in a bid to preserve Lebanon against Syrian crisis fallout. He cited a number of geopolitical and demographic factors including Palestinian presence in Lebanon back in the 1970s to make his point.
Bassil warned against abnormal infiltration of armed elements into Lebanon with the refugees and accused certain Lebanese of making capital out of his complaints.
He argued that fund-raising for the displaced is practically impossible and reiterated that certain parts of Syria were safe enough to accommodate all refugees. Bassil's ultimate message to those displaced Syrians and Palestinians is that only emergencies or urgencies must be admitted.
Bassil proposed “asking other states to take some of the refugees rather than preaching us” how to deal with the refugees.
“We should make sure that the crisis would not worsen and their numbers would decline and not increase,” he said.