BEIRUT, Visiting Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini stressed Thursday that the European Union (EU) was seeking to assist Lebanon in bearing the burden posed by the massive influx of refugees.
In a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil, she said that the EU was unwavering in its support for Lebanon, particularly its efforts to cope with the refugee crisis, calling for "a political settlement to end the conflict in neighbouring Syria."
Bassil told reporters that the ministry will organise a conference next week to tackle terrorism, calling for a solution to the crisis in Syria and the return of refugees to their homeland.
He reiterated Lebanon's opposition to any attempt to settle Syrians in Lebanon.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UBHCR), Lebanon hosts 1.1 million Syrians who fled their war-torn country since the rebellion against the regime of President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. The Lebanese government, however, estimates that the number of refugees living in Lebanon is closer to 1.5 million.
Earlier in the day, Mogherini met with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda.
Aoun said during the meeting that Lebanon was looking forward to fortifying its ties with the EU.
Mogherini arrived in Beirut on Wednesday and held a meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri upon her arrival.
She said they focused on two key aspects of EU support for Lebanon, as helping Lebanese communities host Syrian refugees and joining projects that the EU and the Lebanese government are undertaking in the country.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK