BEIRUT: The United States said Friday that the financial assistance to help Syrian refugees would not go through the Lebanese state and Treasury.
“The U.S. administration will continue to provide the Lebanese Army with equipment and training, and it is also contemplating helping Lebanon on the issue of Syrian refugees through the municipalities and not by backing the state’s budget,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth Jones told caretaker Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi in Washington, according to a statement from his office.
The statement is seen as setback to the efforts of the Lebanese government to raise funds to help cope with the massive influx of Syrian refugees.
Safadi made it clear that some countries were not willing to assist Lebanon to weather the negative effects of the crisis, warning again that the state was no position to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrians.
Jones told Safadi that Washington was now encouraging other countries to assist Lebanon in meeting the needs of the Syrian refugees.
“Our priority at this time is to remove the Syrian chemical weapons and ensure the convening of Geneva conference between the Syrian government and opposition which is expected to be held next month,” she said.