BEIRUT: Opposition MP Tamam Salam slammed Sunday the Lebanese Cabinet, saying its disunity over the Syrian refugee crisis represented a weak Cabinet that has failed in other times of need.
“The Cabinet appeared hesitant and weak in confronting those [ministers] calling for closing the borders in the face of Syrian refugees,” Salam told visitors to his Beirut residence.
Although government approved Thursday a comprehensive plan to deal with the massive numbers of refugees fleeing to Lebanon from strife-torn Syria, the marathon session was marred by sharp rhetoric over how the government should approach this sensitive issue.
During the session, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, who belongs to the March 8 Free Patriotic Movement, argued that the borders with Syria be closed. However, his proposal was rejected by most ministers, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour said following the meeting.
Salam Sunday said that the division on how to address the refugee crisis reflected a “fragile and timid” government.
“This is not the first time that the Cabinet and its reluctantly allied components fail while facing one of the numerous crises the country has had to face,” said Salam.
The lawmaker also said that helping the refugees seeking shelter in Lebanon is a duty for all the Lebanese people, state and government.
He urged that the government to put the case of the refugees ahead of political interests.
“The state should be able to prove it can fulfill its humanitarian mission, away from cheap, political calculations,” said Salam.
Lebanon has been seeking help to assist more the growing number of Syrian refugees in the country.
According to the latest report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the case of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, the total number of displaced who have registered with the agency stands at over 180,000.