Bassil speaks with Aoun during a Cabinet session in Baabda, Thursday, April 26, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil criticized the United Nations and European Union Thursday after the international bodies released a joint statement using unprecedented language regarding Syrian refugees in Lebanon.Aoun said the statement posed a threat to the country due to its allusion to settling Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Speaking after a Cabinet session at the presidential palace, Bassil specifically called out the EU and the U.N. over the statement.Since Aoun's election, the government has been divided over the method of how refugees should return – whether through direct contact with the Syrian government or coordination with the U.N. However, Bassil appealed for Lebanon to unite in rejection of any attempts to resettle refugees on Lebanese soil.Bassil added that criticism of Lebanon's policies toward refugees was unfair.Last week, UNHCR released a statement criticizing the return of some 500 Syrian refugees to their homeland from Lebanon.
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