France 24, April 2, 2017 - A few days before his trip to Paris, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri sat down with FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman to talk about Syrian refugees, President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian conflict and the role of the international community.
Hariri urged the international community to help alleviate the strain of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanon -- where over 1 million are living in makeshift camps.
Refugees from Syria now make up approximately a quarter of Lebanon’s population.
He said he plans on asking for between $10 billion and $12 billion in aid to help boost the floundering local economy devastated by the Syrian war and improve infrastructure.
Help Lebanon help the Syrian refugees
The prime minister said that, “Lebanon is on the verge of a breaking point… we have stretched our luck.”
“We say to Europe, to the United States, to the international community: there is a country that is willing to help these refugees. What are you doing to help that country?”
Hariri told FRANCE 24. “If we build bridges, universities, hospitals, if we strengthen our electricity generation capabilities, our communications, this will serve the interests of the Lebanese first and then it will give jobs to the Syrians.”
Paris and USA too weak on Assad
On Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hariri warned that Washington and Paris are too soft their stance and no longer view the departure of Assad as a priority.
"There are forces which want to keep Bashar al Assad in power but for me it’s not the solution,” Hariri told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman. “The solution is to get rid of Islamic State group and Bashar al Assad. We mustn’t forget that those who killed 700,000 Syrians was not Islamic State group, it was the regime."