Dalhamiyeh, LEBANON, 17 April 2016 – The President of the French Republic Francois Hollande visited on Sunday Syrian refugees at an informal settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, during which he emphasized France’s renewed commitment to supporting Lebanon and humanitarian agencies and resetting Syrian refugees. President Hollande stressed that Lebanon […]
Dalhamiyeh, LEBANON, 17 April 2016 – The President of the French Republic Francois Hollande visited on Sunday Syrian refugees at an informal settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, during which he emphasized France’s renewed commitment to supporting Lebanon and humanitarian agencies and resetting Syrian refugees.
President Hollande stressed that Lebanon had shown “solidarity” and made an “exceptional effort in hosting refugees.” France and the international community, he added, would stand behind the country. He also said that the future of Syrian refugees ultimately lies in returning to their own country once conditions permit.
During the trip, the President announced 100 million euros in aid for Lebanon over three years, with 50 million euros for this year. The overall package represents half of France’s commitment pledged at the London conference on Syria in February. Hollande also promised to increase the number of Syrian refugees that France will resettle from Lebanon, to 3,000 by 2017 from 1,000 in 2016.
The French delegation was keen to see firsthand the work of humanitarian actors like UNHCR in assisting the refugees who fled the conflict in Syria. Hollande was briefed on the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon by Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative in the country, who also led him on a tour of the informal settlement, which hosts 564 refugees. She highlighted the increasing vulnerability of refugees in Lebanon and praised France for helping fund assistance for Syrian refugees, their Lebanese hosts and for providing resettlement opportunities, which act as a safety net to the most vulnerable.
“The refugees here in the Bekaa and across Lebanon wish to go back, safely, to their homeland when conditions allow,” Girard said. “In the meantime, Syrian refugees need to survive in exile and those hosting them must be supported. This visit by President Hollande was important in reinforcing the commitment of France and the international community to Lebanon.”
Hollande arrived in Lebanon Saturday on a two-day visit as part of a regional tour. The delegation from Paris at the settlement included Audrey Azoulay, Minister of Culture and Jack Lang, Director of the Institut du Monde Arabe. Hollande was accompanied by Samir Mouqbel, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of the Lebanese Government.
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