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 caretaker premier as saying during a meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.
Earlier this week, the 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 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 assistance could alleviate the burden posed by the growing number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s Ambassador to the U.N. Nawwaf Salam said Friday that delivering aid to Syria would limit the refugee influx into Lebanon.
In remarks made to An-Nahar, Salam added that Amos told him the U.N. had decided to send a delegation to neighboring countries to discuss the possibility of transferring aid into Syria.
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 his political support to Lebanon during its “dangerous phase.”
He also expressed hope that the support group’s meeting would be followed up with several other measures to help the country cope with economic challenges and support the Army.
The meeting, attended by representatives of the five permanent Security Council members, convened to discuss ways to help Lebanon’s volatile economy, the Army in manning its borders, 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.
He praised Lebanon’s policy of disassociation on the conflict in Syria, saying it was the best way to shield the country from danger and upheaval.