BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman will meet with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the overall situation in the region and the establishment of a refugee fund this month.
The details will be discussed when Sleiman heads for France on Sept. 6, leading a Lebanese delegation for the Games of La Francophonie in the southern city of Nice this month, sources close to Sleiman told The Daily Star .
Sleiman’s visit will cover a series of meetings with the other participating countries’ heads of state, most notably Hollande. Both leaders are set to discuss a number of regional concerns, particularly the Syrian conflict in light of France’s stance in favor of a potential strike against the Syrian government.
Hollande has expressed his will to support the United States to punish the Syrian regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The meeting will also cover the implications of the Syrian conflict in Lebanon, especially in terms of the large influx of refugees to the country, as their numbers have now reached more than 40 percent of Lebanon’s population, as well as the accompanying political, security and social complications.
Sleiman’s discussions with Hollande, slated to take place on the eve of the games, will mark an important milestone in managing the refugee crisis as it will be devoted to establishing a fund which France had previously called for.
The meeting will be dedicated to discussing methods of fortifying Lebanon and providing it with much-needed aid to manage the growing refugee population, which is expected to rise not only in Lebanon, but Turkey and Jordan as well.
Lebanon is set to benefit from the outcome of the meeting, as the fund will help the country carry the burden of hosting refugees, which has already taken a toll on security and politics.
There are currently 700,000-plus registered refugees in Lebanon.