Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement today in Paris before the start of an international conference on Lebanon:
With the formation of a government of national unity, Lebanon is taking a firm stand against being drawn into the Syrian civil war. We welcome the commitment shown by all religious and other groupings in Lebanon to the principles of pluralism and peaceful co‑existence.
Those inside or outside Lebanon who are bent on destabilising the country must not be allowed to succeed. That is why it is so important to help Lebanon strengthen national cohesion. Only a politically united and stable country can successfully tackle the challenges ahead. Notably the influx of over a million Syrian refugees puts a severe strain on the country, a strain it has so far stood up to.
Lebanon can count on the support of the international community and Germany in its efforts to promote intercommunal understanding and deal with the consequences of the war in Syria.
That is the clear message we will be sending at today’s Lebanon conference here in Paris.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier will be attending the meeting convened today in Paris by the International Support Group for Lebanon. The International Support Group was established on 25 September 2013 on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York with the aim of stabilising Lebanon and helping it deal with the consequences of the ongoing crisis in Syria. Under the aegis of the United Nations membership includes, along with Lebanon, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as international organisations, such as the Arab League, the European Union and the World Bank.
Germany also takes part in the consultations of the International Support Group by virtue of the substantial humanitarian aid and assistance for refugees we provide in Lebanon as well as our efforts to strengthen state institutions there. Since 2012 the German Government has provided some 100 million euros in humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
In a unique programme unmatched anywhere else in the EU, Germany is currently in the process of taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees, mostly from refugee camps in Lebanon. Since the start of the crisis in Syria 30,000 Syrians have found shelter in Germany.