BEIRUT: The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees denied reports that it was seeking to naturalize Syrian refugees Wednesday.
On July 9, Al-Liwaa newspaper had quoted Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas as saying the UNHCR had requested the naturalization of 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“The issue of naturalization is subject only to the full authority of the Lebanese government and is something UNHCR has never proposed,” a statement from the agency said.
Earlier, Derbas had also denied receiving reports that the UNHCR was preparing to settle Syrian refugees.
“I haven’t received any report about UNHCR’s intention to settle 100,000 Syrian refugees,” Derbas said in a statement published by state-run National News Agency.
“I was only replying to a journalist who said he has learned about this intention on the UNHCR website,” Derbas added in reference to quotes attributed to him by the local newspaper Al-Liwaa.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 10, 2014, on page 4.