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Lebanon News

Mikati: Lebanon ready to facilitate cross-border aid to Syria

Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, left, poses for a picture with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations headquarters, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Lebanon was ready to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid to Syria days after the United Nations Security Council urged Assad’s government to allow cross-border deliveries.

"Mikati expressed Lebanon's readiness to facilitate the passage of humanitarian aid to Syria from its soil,” the National News Agency quoted Mikati as saying during a meeting with U.N. chief Ban ki-Moon.

Earlier this week, the U.N. Security Council urged Syria's government to allow cross-border aid deliveries as millions of Syrians are in desperate need of help.

U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos said that if the statement's requests were fully implemented then humanitarian groups could help about 2 million people in Syria who have been unreachable for many months.

The transfer of cross-border aid could alleviate some of the burden on Lebanon as a result of the growing number of Syrian refugees in the country.

Lebanon's Ambassador to the U.N. Nawwaf Salam said Friday delivering aid to Syria would limit the Syrian influx into Lebanon.

In remarks to Annahar website, Salam added that UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos that the organization has decided to send a delegation to neighboring countries to discuss the possibility of transfering aid into the troubled country.

During his meeting with Ban, Mikati also thanked the U.N. for its efforts in helping Lebanon cope with the crisis in Syria through the International Support Group for Lebanon which convened last month to address the country’s economic and institutional challenges.

Mikati thanked Ban for the political support to Lebanon's stability in this "dangerous phase."

He also hoped the support group's meeting would be followed up with several other measures to help the country deal with economic challenges and support the Army.

The meeting, attended by representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council, discussed ways to help Lebanon’s volatile economy, the Lebanese Army in manning the border and to provide aid for the government to better administer the presence of some 1.3 million refugees.

For his part, Ban said he would follow up on the results of the meeting in order to begin implementation.

He praised the policy of disassociation Lebanon has adopted toward the conflict in Syria, saying it was the best choice to distance Lebanon from this crisis and its dangers.

 

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