Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today discussed plans to return Syrian refugees to their country.
The Information Office of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Bassil’s visit to Moscow, which began today, would see the officials discuss Syrian refugees in Lebanon and how to secure their return.
On 4 August Moscow announced that it expects 890,000 Syrians to return to their country in the next few months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is intensifying efforts to secure financial support and international political cover for the success of the return initiative, his foreign ministry said.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry explained that Bassil “to secure all the requirements for a safe, dignified return of displaced Syrians, many of whom are willing to return home.”
Five groups of Syrian refugees returned to Syria from Lebanon under the “voluntary repatriation” system, in efforts coordinated between the Lebanese authorities and the Syrian regime. No official figures of how many people were included have been released.
Lebanon estimates that there are 1.5 million Syria refugees on its territory while the UN says the number is less than one million.
Lebanese authorities complain of refugee pressure on the country’s limited resources, with insufficient international assistance.
The talks also dealt with bilateral relations in political and economic files and prospects for cooperation between the two countries, the foreign ministry added.
It stressed that the two countries share common interests, united by a single vision to secure the stability of the Middle East, prevent the domination of extremism and terrorism and protect the cultural and religious diversity of the region.