Time: April 23, 2019
- Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah announced the initiatives at the start of a three-day visit to Lebanon
- UN figures put Saudi Arabia at the forefront of efforts to provide relief for refugees and crisis-hit people
BEIRUT: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Monday revealed plans to launch vital aid projects for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah announced the initiatives at the start of a three-day visit to Lebanon aimed at stepping up joint relief work in the country.
After being met by the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Al-Bukhari, at Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Al-Rabeeah said in a statement that he was looking forward to further cementing the strong bonds between the two countries.
He said the purpose of his trip was for the Kingdom to “implement a series of relief and humanitarian projects, meet with officials in Lebanon, and extend bridges of cooperation between KSRelief and Lebanese civil society institutions.”
He added that the meetings in Beirut were part of “building strong bridges of cooperation for the benefit of refugees as well as those in need in various areas of Lebanon.”
Al-Rabeeah noted that the Kingdom was the world leader in initiating humanitarian projects and said UN figures put Saudi Arabia at the forefront of efforts to provide relief for refugees and crisis-hit people.
Al-Rabeeah, who is also a royal adviser, on Monday met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, along with religious leaders including the grand mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan, head of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Druze spiritual chief Sheikh Naim Hassan, and Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi.
He said he would be happy to meet Lebanese President Michel Aoun if their schedules allowed.
During talks with Deryan, Al-Rabeeah stressed that Saudi Arabia was keen to support aid work in Lebanon. “We will extend our cooperation with Dar Al-Fatwa and its humanitarian, governmental and community organizations in Lebanon. I am sure that this visit will result in many programs that will serve the refugees and the needy in Lebanon and benefit everyone.”
On the Kingdom’s vision for Lebanon, he added: “Everyone is optimistic about the future of Lebanon, not just me. First and foremost, the Lebanese communities are keen to build a new Lebanon. I am also sure that friendly countries, especially Saudi Arabia, will support its reconstruction and development.”
Deryan praised “the efforts of KSRelief to heal the wounds of the needy in Lebanon and the Arab region.”
As part of his trip, Al-Rabeeah will travel to the town of Saadnayel, in the Bekaa area, to visit Syrian refugee camps and launch a UNESCO schools project to support basic education for Syrian refugee students in Lebanon.
The project is funded by KSRelief and implemented in partnership with the Kayany Foundation, headed by Nora Jumblatt.
A UNESCO spokesperson told Arab News: “The project aims to widen education opportunities and help at-risk Syrian students in Lebanon, especially at the intermediate and high school levels. It is linked to ongoing initiatives related to the education of Syrians in Lebanon in an attempt to fill the gap and complement recent efforts.”
Al-Rabeeah will be joined at the launch event by Lebanese Minister of Education Akram Chehayeb, Jumblatt, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon, Philippe Lazzarini, and director of the UNESCO regional office in Beirut, Hamed Al-Hammami.