| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

What’s behind divergence in perspectives between Arab world and West regarding refugees?

The Brussels Conference on Supporting the Host Communities for Syrian Refugees, held over the past two days, did not witness significant high-level contributions, but they were still acceptable. On this occasion, Lebanon reiterated its vision for the prompt return of these individuals to their homeland and emphasized the need for international assistance in this process.

According to what informed diplomatic sources, have told “Sawt Beirut International”, the decline in international funding can be attributed to several factors, with the global economic crisis being one of the most prominent. European countries, in particular, are grappling with financial pressures exacerbated by their support for Ukraine and its armament in the face of the ongoing Russian war.
There is a divergence of views between the Arab perspective on one hand and the European- International perspective on the other regarding the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. This has limited Arab funding in the conference for the host countries.

Arab countries have made a decision during the Arab Summit and subsequent meetings, following the opening up to Syria and its regime, to emphasize the necessity of repatriating the displaced individuals. There is a plan and initiative in place, with an Arab committee formed including Lebanon, aiming to address this crisis through discussions with Syria. The Arab League has become directly concerned with resolving the issue without intermediaries with the Syrian regime.
While the European-International stance suggests that the return of Syrian refugees should not happen at present and encourages their integration into the Lebanese society while waiting for a comprehensive political solution in Syria, the Arab perspective raises a question for discussion. Why do Arab countries fund a conference that is financed by the European Union when there is an ongoing Arab initiative aiming to repatriate the refugees to Syria?

Sources emphasize that Arabs have the ability to repatriate them independently of the international position, particularly since Saudi Arabia is leading the “Return” initiative. There is hope for dialogue with the Syrian regime regarding this matter, as part of the Arab conditions imposed for engagement with the regime.
From this perspective, there is a serious Arab endeavor to repatriate the refugees who should be in their own country, as they should form the essential backbone of the desired reconstruction efforts. Moreover, it is their natural right, and Syria should welcome every Syrian who has been displaced abroad and facilitate their return.

Sources also point out that Lebanon’s plan to repatriate the refugees in the past faced international obstacles, in addition to the negative impact of the U.S.-Russian conflict on the resolution of this issue, as all parties await a consensus between these two poles on the unresolved regional files.



  • Sawt Beirut International