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Ratas: Estonia to go on providing humanitarian aid to refugees in Lebanon

Ratas with President Michel Aoun (right).
Ratas with President Michel Aoun (right). Source: Riigikantselei/Triin Oppi

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) confirmed after his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday that Estonia will continue to support the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“Lebanon has made an extraordinary effort letting up to 1.5 million Syrian refugees into the country according to different estimates. These people have been forced to leave their homes to survive. The organisations of the United Nations provide security and support to them. In recent years, Estonia has also increased the amount of humanitarian aid provided to Lebanon,” Ratas said.

The war in Syria, currently in its seventh year, has caused the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis of the decade. 13.1 million people require daily humanitarian aid. The European Union has been the most important provider of aid since the beginning of the crisis, so far having contributed more than €10.6 billion.

Between 2012 and 2018 Estonia has supported the improvement of the lives of refugees in Syria as well as its neighbouring countries with a total of more than €7.1 million. This year and next, Estonia will contribute an additional €1.3 million.

Estonia has allocated €950,000 to efforts in Lebanon since 2013. The money goes towards receiving refugees, providing food and shelter and medical services, continuing education, and paying the salaries of teachers.

In his meeting with the Lebanese president and prime minister, Ratas also talked about the security situation of Lebanon and the successful fight against Daesh. Estonia is part of the activities of the Global Coalition Against Daesh formed by the United States in 2014.

The economic relations of Estonia and Lebanon are modest. Lebanon has expressed interest in Estonia's e-government services. “Estonia is always glad to share the success stories and lessons of the development of a digital country. As approximately 18 million Lebanese people live outside their country, Lebanon is particularly interested in our e-voting,” Ratas said after the meeting.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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