Refugee crisis overwhelming Lebanon: Hariri

Doha, Sunday May 14, 2017 (QNA)


Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Grand Serail.Thursday, January 19, 2017 (The Daily Star/ Mohammad Azakir)



The Daily Star, May. 15, 2017 | 12:48 AM


Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned Sunday that Lebanon could no longer deal with the Syrian refugee crisis alone, during a visit to Qatar.
“[The refugee crisis] has raised the poverty rate to 30 percent and doubled the unemployment rate to 20 percent, and to more than 30 percent among the youth,” Hariri said during a speech delivered at the 17th Doha Forum in Qatar.
He cited World Bank data to demonstrate the effect of the crisis on the Lebanese economy.

“The World Bank estimates the total loss suffered by the Lebanese GDP as a result of this crisis until the end of 2015 at more than $18 billion, and the figure today is approximately $25 billion”, he said.
Prior to the forum’s opening, Hariri met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The two discussed developments in Lebanon and the region, as well as bilateral ties, a statement from the prime minister’s office reported.
The forum, “Development, Stability and the Refugee Crisis”, discusses new developments and the economic, political and humanitarian aspects of the refugee crisis.

While in Qatar, Hariri also met with his Qatari counterpart, Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
During his speech, Hariri called for job creation across the Middle East to boost regional stability and counter extremist ideologies.
“This goal can only be achieved through the stimulation of economic growth and full partnership between the public and private sectors”, Hariri said. “In the age of globalization, extremism has become globalized and so have terrorism and dangers. ... There is no way to confront them except with a globalized response”.

Turning to the effect of the Syrian refugee crisis, Hariri said:“Our government has decided to confront this crisis and developed a unified vision based on upgrading infrastructure and public services. ... But we count on the international community and Arab support to finance and invest in these two areas”, Hariri said.

On economic development, Hariri said:“The economic development of Lebanon is facing a special difficulty ... from the presence of 1.5 million displaced Syrians and 500,000 Palestinian refugees in its territories”. He added, “[There can be] no security, development or prosperity without stability”. The prime minister, accompanied by Social Affairs Minister Pierre Bou Assi, Information Minister Melhem Riachi, Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merehbi and chief of staff Nader Hariri, left Beirut Saturday and returned Sunday afternoon.