Bishop of Wakefield – Lebanon and Syria (Written Answers)

On 24th July 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received written answers to questions on Lebanon and Syria.

Bishop of Wakefield PlattenThe Lord Bishop of Wakefield: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to build the resilience of the Lebanese army to respond to the security situation on its border with Syria.

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK is providing an additional £10 million of assistance to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in their mission to secure Lebanon’s border with Syria. The package of non-lethal assistance includes mobility, communications, protection and observation equipment and associated training. The package was discussed by the then Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, with the LAF commander during his visit to Lebanon on 4-5 July.


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Bishop of Birmingham raises concerns about community instability in Lebanon

On 23rd July 2013, Lord Risby asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current social and economic situation in Lebanon. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question on what is being done to ease tensions between communities affected by the movement of refugees:

01.04.14 Bishop of BirminghamThe Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, Lebanese communities have shown incredible generosity in coping with refugees but the flow is reaching breaking point. Will the Minister accept that, in addition to providing support for refugees, more work should be done to alleviate tension between communities and to strengthen the resilience of host families?

Baroness Warsi: I completely agree with the right reverend Prelate that there has been a huge show of generosity and a real welcome from the Lebanese people. Noble Lords may be aware that the population of Lebanon is about 4 million. The number of registered refugees is 600,000 but it is estimated that the real number could be a lot higher—somewhere around 1 million. That is the equivalent of the whole of the Romanian population arriving on British shores over a very short period. A huge amount of pressure has been put on local resources, which has of course caused tensions. It is for that reason that we are supporting not just the refugee communities but the host communities as well.