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Lebanese President: We Cannot Resolve Syrian Refugee Crisis by Spreading Hatred | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Syrian boy peeks out of his tent at a refugee camp in the village of al-Marj in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. (AFP)

Beirut – Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned on Tuesday against falling victim to attempts to create spite between the Lebanese people and Syrian refugees in the country “because it will not have positive repercussions on either party.”

He added: “Resolving the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and easing its negative burden on the country cannot take place through spreading hatred.”

He deemed as “unacceptable” the “mutual incitement” taking place on various social media platforms, “especially since what is being published does not reflect Lebanon’s real image.”

“Lebanon is a country of coexistence and tolerance. If some Syrian refugees are accused of wrongdoings, then that does not mean that all of the refugees are bad. We should therefore distinguish between the two,” urged Aoun.

“The refugees came to Lebanon to escape the war in Syria and we have and still are presenting them with aid despite the negative economic, financial, social and educational consequences that have resulted from this displacement,” noted the Lebanese president.

He therefore demanded a political solution for the Syrian crisis “as we want the suffering of those refugees to end with their safe return to their country.”

“This demand does not however mean that anyone has the right to wage incitement campaigns against peaceful refugees, because the repercussions of these practices will be major,” he warned.

He stressed that Lebanon has succeeded in containing tensions on the internal scene despite the dangers on the regional level, asking: “Should the country now be dragged to war and internal problems at a time when wars around us are coming to an end?”

Echoing Aoun’s stances, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil underlined on Tuesday the need to find a “sustainable” solution to the Syrian refugee crisis through ensuring their safe return to their country, without forcibly making them leave Lebanon.

This process should take place over phases in order to allow trust to be restored between various segments of the Syrian people, he explained while chairing the eighth joint partnership council between Lebanon and the European Union.

The council addressed regional affairs, starting with the Syrian crisis, terrorism, political developments and various trade issues.