BEIRUT: Lebanon is getting ready for a United Nations meeting in New York next week to discuss ways of helping Lebanon cope with huge numbers of Syrian refugees who have taken residence in the country.
President Michel Sleiman chaired two meetings in Baabda Wednesday to discuss the preparations for the Sept. 25 New York conference to be held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
The first meeting was attended by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, concerned ministers and security officials.
Discussions focused on measures that Lebanese authorities should take to organize the entry of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
A statement from the president’s office said that the Syrians’ entry to Lebanon should be based on international law and humanitarian considerations.
The second meeting was held between Sleiman and the delegation that will accompany him to New York and addressed topics that will be discussed on the sidelines of next week's General Assembly.
A separate meeting over the conference was held between caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly.
The international meeting will likely lead to more assistance for the Lebanese Army and economy, sources close to Baabda Palace told The Daily Star earlier.
Lebanon is facing difficulties coping with over a million Syrians who have flocked to Lebanon since the outbreak of unrest in their country in March 2011.
More than 700,000 Syrians are receiving aid from the United Nations.
A donor conference convened in Kuwait in January promised financial assistance to countries hosting Syrian refugees, but much of the pledged funding did not materialize.
Lebanese officials also say that many of the country’s aid efforts and needs have been overlooked as groups fund the U.N. efforts.
Government officials say Lebanon needs hundreds of millions of dollars to fix its infrastructure taxed by the refugee influx and provide for new arrivals.