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Hariri, Merkel Discuss Syrian Refugee Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint news conference in Berlin on Tuesday (AP)

Berlin – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri met on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis and means to promote bilateral relations.

In a joint news conference held at the outset of the meeting, Merkel said: “Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian refugees, and you can imagine the sheer dimension of this burden as compared to the size of the state and its population.”

“It shows a great humanitarian spirit and gesture, and I would like to pay my respect to the Lebanese people for hosting this large number of refugees, especially if we look at the fragile and very difficult situation in your country and this represents an enormous task,” she added.

The German chancellor noted that her country was the second largest donor to Lebanon.

“We donated 286 million Euros last year and we are trying to help Lebanon to wither this crisis and we are trying to use this crisis in order to revive the economic dynamics of the region,” she stated.

Hariri, for his part, said the Lebanese, who are 4 million, were hosting about 1 to 1.2 million Syrian displaced, and around 500,000 Palestinian refugees, noting that this has created a strain on the country’s economy, infrastructure and social fabric.

“To give you a measure, it is as if the EU was expected to host 250 million refugees, starting tomorrow morning!” He stated.

The Lebanese premier said he would be revealing Lebanon’s vision for stabilization and development at the Brussels Conference to Support Syria, which will kick off on Wednesday.