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Kuwait to boost aid to refugees, host communities in Lebanon

File - Kuwaiti parliament Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim and his Lebanese counterpart Nabih Berri give a press conference at the Kuwait's national assembly in Kuwait City on February 16, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT)

BEIRUT: Kuwait is set to offer aid to both Syrian refugees and local host communities, the Gulf country’s National Assembly Speaker Razouk al-Ghanim said Monday during an official visit to informal tented settlements in east Lebanon.

“We do not accept that this visit ends at its borders,” Ghanim said while touring refugee settlements in the Bekaa Valley regions of Bar Elias and Al-Marj. “We have instead come to offer aid to ease the pain and suffering of the Syrian refugees in the camp, and for the heroic Lebanese people who have opened their hearts and lands and homes to house the displaced Syrians.”

He was accompanied by Speaker Nabih Berri’s representative MP Michel Musa and Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas.

Ghanim stressed that his country had “a large responsibility toward the Syrian and Lebanese people,” and that it was his “humanitarian, legitimate, and national duty to conduct this visit” to witness the Lebanese-Syrian suffering firsthand.

Kuwait has already contributed several million dollars to help Syrian refugees in the region.

Derbas expressed gratitude toward the Kuwaiti speaker for his visit, adding that the refugee crisis had “become a catastrophe for Lebanon” following the increasingly high influx, he said. “Refugee areas have become surrounded by misery which has also enveloped the Lebanese.”

The official number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon surpassed 1 million months ago and the real number is estimated to be much higher.

Upon arriving to Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport late Sunday evening, Ghanim said Lebanon remained the “favorite destination for recreation and tourism” for Kuwaiti tourists.

Ghanim added that he hoped “Lebanon recovered its full stability as soon as possible because a stable Lebanon means a stable Kuwait.”

He arrived in Beirut accompanied by a delegation of officials, and was received at the airport by Kuwait Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul-Aal al-Qenai and his diplomatic staff; MP Abdel-Latif Zein, Berri’s representative; MP Ayoub Humayed, head of the bilateral parliamentary friendship committee; and Musa.

Commenting on the recent turmoil in Iraq, the official said, “Iraq is exposed to every possibility, we pray to the mighty God to grace Iraqis and their country with safety and security as soon as possible.”

Ghanim is to hold talks with his Lebanese counterpart before leaving Tuesday.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 17, 2014, on page 4.

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Summary

Kuwait is set to offer aid to both Syrian refugees and local host communities, the Gulf country's National Assembly Speaker Razouk al-Ghanim said Monday during an official visit to informal tented settlements in east Lebanon.

Kuwait has already contributed several million dollars to help Syrian refugees in the region.

The official number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon surpassed 1 million months ago and the real number is estimated to be much higher.

Ghanim is to hold talks with his Lebanese counterpart before leaving Tuesday.


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