This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at marietje.schaake@ep.europa.eu

Press release: EU supports MEP's call to fulfil UN-Mandate in Lebanon

Marietje
In answers to written questions submitted by Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton supported the MEP's call to fulfil the total mandate of fifteen thousand UN peacekeepers (UNIFIL) in Lebanon. Currently eleven thousand soldiers are deployed in the country. The EU is also committed to the renewal of the current mandate that will expire on August 30th. Schaake: "The Syrian war is increasingly spilling over into Lebanon, we know that Hezbollah has joined the forces of President Assad in fighting against the predominantly Sunni rebels. This causes major tensions, particularly given the presence of one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. UNIFL has to be at full strength in order to preserve the already fragile peace in Lebanon." Support for Lebanese Armed Forces Besides fulfilling the mandate of the peacekeeping mission, the EU is also exploring ways to support the Lebanese army, as Schaake suggested. "The army is widely respected in Lebanon, but faces increased instability and threats to security, particularly along the Syrian border. Cross-border armed clashes between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels happen on a daily basis. The army's presence is needed there, but this leaves a vacuum in other parts of the country, creating an unwanted situation in an already inflammatory time", Schaake says. EU support could come in material, logistics and trainings. Tuesday a bomb exploded in an outskirt of Beirut, injuring 53 people. Humanitarian disaster The influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon continues. The Lebanese authorities have expressed their intent to keep the borders open, but also called for more international support. Schaake: "For Lebanon alone, providing shelter to Syrian refugees will cost 1.3 million Euro, until December of this year. So far only 15% of the pledged money has been committed. The EU has contributed 113 million Euro, but this is still not enough. Education and medical aid are most urgent, half of all refugees are children. We have to support the generation that will have to rebuild Syria". In April Schaake visited Syrian refugees in the Lebanese Bekaa valley, she put her experiences in this blog. Together with colleagues she called on the EU to provide more support to Lebanon.