Gemayel warns that Syrian Refugees a threat to Lebanon


Former Lebanese president and current Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel warned on Monday on the influx of Syrian refugees and said Lebanon can no longer support them.

During a press conference after the party’s weekly politburo meeting: “The refugees have become a threat to the country’s national fabric.”

He noted that some 450,000 refugees have fled to Lebanon without counting those who have not been registered.

“This issue is no longer just a humanitarian one, but it is taking on new dimensions,” remarked Gemayel.

The case of refugees should be given priority in Lebanon, he stressed.

“How can Lebanon’s economic, social, political, and security capabilities take on such a burden?” he wondered.

He therefore revealed that the Phalange Party has taken the decision to form an emergency unit to conduct a census of the refugees “because the official authorities lack transparency in tackling this issue.”

To that end, Gemayel suggested the formation of camps near the Lebanese-Syrian border to harbor the refugees and avoid their “haphazard distribution” in the country.

On the discussions to form a new government, he said: “We support Premier-designate Tammam Salam’s efforts to establish a new cabinet, which should be capable of taking decisive decisions on all issues.”

“The new government should be capable of preserving Lebanon’s interests,” he stressed.

Moreover, he urged political powers to cooperate with Speaker Nabih Berri to reach an agreement over a new parliamentary electoral law “because time is running out to hold the elections.”

The hybrid law, which combines the winner-takes-all and proportional representation systems, was the center of the most discussions among the political powers, Gemayel noted.

“The government must reach an agreement over a new electoral law in order to preserve Lebanon’s democratic system,” he added.