Lebanon News

Berlin pledges $637M to Lebanon, Jordan over refugee crisis

Prime Minister Tammam Salam delivers a statement to the media in Berlin Oct. 27, 2014. (AFP/TOBIAS SCHWARZ)

BEIRUT: Berlin has pledged 500 million euros ($637 million) over the next three years to help Lebanon and Jordan cope with the Syrian refugee crisis, a foreign ministry source told The Daily Star.

The funds would be split between the two countries, with a portion of the money going to the governments, and the other portion to Syrian refugees through humanitarian organizations.

The source could not specify what percentage of the donation would go to Lebanon.

The pledge came during a two-day meeting in Berlin on Monday and Tuesday of the International Support Group for Lebanon.

No other details of donation were available.

Sources close to Prime Minister Tammam Salam told the Daily Star that Sweden had separately pledged to donate $8.5 million to Lebanon.

The Berlin conference had vowed Tuesday to extend long-term financial aid to countries struggling with what the U.N. calls the world’s “most dramatic humanitarian crisis."

Salam, in remarked published by localy daily An-Nahar Wednesday, said the donations had fallen short of their expectations.

The funds “are far from what Lebanon had requested: $1 billion in grants and soft loans,” the daily quoted him as saying.

Salam, however, expressed satisfaction with the conference's closing statement on the situation of refugees in Syria and support for stability in the region.

An-Nahar said the Berlin conference has been a disappointment, where the international community is planning to establish long-term Syrian refugee camps.

The report said both Salam and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil opposed this proposition, fearing it would pave the way for the naturalization of Syrian refugees and further deteriorate the crisis in Lebanon.

Around 40 countries and international bodies adopted a declaration saying donors would “mobilize for years to come” increased development support to help nations like Lebanon and Jordan shoulder the impact of millions of Syrian refugees.

"Economics, public services, the social fabric of communities and the welfare of families are all affected, not to mention the security impact of the Syrian conflict in the whole region," head of the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, told the conference.

This article was amended on Wednesday, October 29 2014

A previous version of this article erroneously reported donors had pledged $650 million for Lebanon to cope with the Syrian refugee crisis. In fact, Berlin made a pledge of 500 million euros ($637 million) to be split between both Lebanon and Jordan, and to be delivered over the next three years.

The Daily Star regrets this error.




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