The United Nations announced in a statement Saturday that “a decision has been made to temporarily pause the use of dual currency (dollar and Lebanese Pound) for next month’s disbursement of cash assistance to refugees,” following meetings with Lebanese officials.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon Imran Riza, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representative in Lebanon Ivo Freijsen, and the World Food Programme Country Director and Representative in Lebanon Abdallah Alwardat met on Friday with Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, and Caretaker Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar.

The meetings were held to discuss the disbursement of cash assistance for refugees in Lebanon.   

Mikati and Hajjar requested to suspend the use of dual currency for disbursement of cash assistance to refugees, “while discussions continue on appropriate modalities,” the UN said in a statement.

Earlier, Lebanese officials raised concerns over talks to dollarize aid to Syrian refugees.

Hajjar stressed that cash assistance to the refugees should be disbursed in the local currency, otherwise tensions could escalate between Lebanese hosts and Syrian refugees, especially in disadvantaged areas.

In this context, The UN reiterated its commitment to humanitarian principles in supporting the Lebanese government to assist the most vulnerable people across the country, the statement read.  

“All programmatic decisions are taken with full transparency and commitment to our mandate including decisions on assistance modalities which are based on solid, objective evidence and thorough research,” it added.

Following the UN’s decision, the leader of the Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, said on Twitter, “we hope to continue in this direction, and to listen more to the Lebanese government, in order to move from organizing refugees’ stay in Lebanon to organizing their return [to their homeland].”