Caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bou Habib warned against “an explosion of the situation in Lebanon (due to the massive presence of Syrians in the country) which, if it occurs, will have repercussions on neighboring countries and Europe.” He stressed that “maintaining the status quo on this issue poses an existential threat to Lebanon.”

During the Brussels conference on Syria on Monday, Bou Habib criticized the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for its lack of cooperation in resolving the problem posed by the presence of Syrian migrants and displaced persons.

The UN agency “has provided only incomplete data concerning Syrians in Lebanon,” the caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs rebuked, noting that the agency had “itself become a problem in the eyes of many Lebanese.”

Bou Habib spoke at length about the problems facing the country as a result of the hundreds of thousands of migrants and displaced persons. He then presented a series of solutions to the representatives of the present countries, some of which could be implemented in cooperation with the UNHCR and other international organizations.

The head of Lebanese diplomacy expressed the country’s willingness “to engage in constructive dialogue with the international community and international organizations with a view to drawing up a detailed roadmap for the return of displaced persons, with the exception of special cases protected by Lebanese law.”

Bou Habib advocated “applying the principle of burden-sharing, through resettlement in third countries, of Syrians who cannot return home for political and security reasons.”

He demanded “fair compensation for the Lebanese state on a temporary basis and not as an alternative, through direct support to its institutions, given the enormous burdens estimated at around 100 billion dollars, according to preliminary estimates from the World Bank.”