Harrington winds up Lebanon visit

Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and the UK Government’s Minister for Syrian Refugees, has ended a two-day visit to Lebanon.

In his ministerial capacity to coordinate the re-settlement of up to 20,000 of the most vulnerable refugees to the UK via the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme, Minister Harrington met refugees departing on a chartered flight from Beirut airport to the UK.

On arrival in the UK, these refugees will be provided with housing, healthcare, English language lessons, education and access to appropriate support services tailored to their individual needs.

During his visit, Mr Harrington met Interior Minister Nohad Machnouq, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Lebanese parliamentarians.

Mr Harrington thanked the Lebanese authorities for hosting such vast numbers of refugees, and his discussions focused on the UK’s continued support to Lebanon, which this year will total more than Pound 114m. He visited the UNHCR centre in Jnah to see first-hand how UK aid is supporting the most vulnerable in Lebanon.

At the end of his visit Minister Harrington said: “The UK continues to be one of the largest bilateral donors to Lebanon, the region and in Syria.

“As Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said when he visited Lebanon recently, we all acknowledge that Syrian refugees are temporary guests in Lebanon until it is safe for them to return to Syria. There are no proposals or plans by the International Community to settle Syrian refugees permanently in Lebanon. The UK is working closely with the Lebanese Government to improve economic opportunities for both Lebanese communities and refugees for the good of Lebanon and to give the refugees the skills and expertise to rebuild Syria when the time is right.

“In September last year, the Prime Minister announced that the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme would be expanded in order to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrians. I am delighted that we were able to resettle more than 1,000 of these refugees by last Christmas, but we are by no means complacent and we know that there is a long way to go.”

Source: National News Agency

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