BEIRUT: Lebanon needs to wisely use the help offered to it by the international community to face the burdens of the Syrian refugee influx into the country, Lebanon’s envoy to the United Nations said in remarks published Friday.
“The meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon yielded very good results, but it could lose its [effectiveness] if the Lebanese side does not invest it properly,” Nawwaf Salam told As-Safir daily.
“ Lebanon must commit to the meeting and the pledges on the humanitarian, economic, and security levels,” he said.
An international meeting at the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week pledged $339 million in additional humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis, including $74 million for Lebanon to support refugees.
The U.N. is assisting over 750,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon and there are hundreds of thousands more people who are uncounted.
Government officials say the country cannot deal with such large numbers of refugees without international aid.
U.S. President Barack Obama also pledged during a meeting with President Michel Sleiman $8.7 million from the U.S. to support the Lebanese Army.
Salam said that the international support related to the Army or the refugees should be translated into something concrete on the ground and that Lebanon should find the right mechanism to properly benefit from the international help.
The Lebanese envoy said that the financial support agreed on during the meeting was not “a suitcase full of money that we can take with us to Lebanon.”
He also said that the international conference marked the beginning of further meetings that will tackle in detail the discussions made during Wednesday's meet.
“The meeting was not aimed at bolstering Lebanon financially, but it was aimed at paving the way for further meetings to work out a mechanism to interpret the outcome that had been reached into palpable results,” he said.