BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour slammed the international community Wednesday over disappointing Lebanon and Syria and launched a project to prevent strife between Lebanese and Syrian refugees.
“The international community has disappointed the Lebanese after it had disappointed the Syrians, politically and humanitarianly” Abu Faour said, referring to the lack of international support for Lebanon over the Syrian refugee crisis and the lack of efforts to find a solution for Syria's war.
He made the comments in a news conference launching the “Conflict Reduction Through Improving Health Services for the Vulnerable Population in Lebanon” project.
“The [EU-funded] project aims to reduce the existing conflict between Lebanese and Syrian refugees, which in part results from the competition over jobs, education, health and basic survival services,” Abu Faour explained.
He criticized the politicization of the refugee crisis debate, saying that “the last thing we need in Lebanon, is to transform the refugee issue into a factor political division.”
He stressed the need to act immediately on the crisis, saying that it had become an urgent danger.
“My advice is to reduce the [verbal] statements and boost the arrangements,” he said, raising questions about old policies enacted by the former Cabinet and never implemented.
Abu Faour called for supporting Lebanese workers by giving them the advantage in terms of employment.
“Why doesn’t the Lebanese state stop the illegitimate competition by the Syrians?” he asked, expressing concern over possible strife between the two sides if the matters were not resolved.