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Lebanon’s President Aoun urges world leaders to work on safe return of Syrian refugees

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has calls on world leaders to work on safe return of Syrian refugees, stressing that addressing the issue is “not the sole responsibility of Lebanon.”

According to Press TV, addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Aoun said the Beirut government may undertake return process in agreement with the incumbent Damascus administration, when needed, to solve this dilemma which threatens our Lebanon’s entity and existence.

More than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon.

The Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands at 1.5 million.

In February, Lebanon’s minister of state for displaced affairs said his country would stick primarily to a Russian strategy for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

“The Russian strategy will be adopted as a basis for our approach towards the return of Syrian refugees to Syria,” Saleh Gharib told China’s official Xinhua news agency on February 6.

He also did not deny the possibility of visiting Syria, or conducting a direct dialogue with high-ranking government officials in Damascus to secure the return of Syrian refugees.

“Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is very much aware of the sensitivity of this issue, and all necessary steps will be taken in this regard,” Gharib said.