Mashnouq Says Latest Saudi Grant to be Deposited in Central Bank

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Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said on Monday that the latest Saudi grant made to boost the performance of security apparatuses in Lebanon will be deposited in the Central Bank after the cabinet approves it.

“We are currently drafting a formula to approve the grant based on the highest degrees of transparency,” Mashnouq said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

He pointed out that Prime Minister Tammam Salam could discuss the grant from outside the government’s agenda during the upcoming cabinet session.

Head of al-Mustaqbal Movement and former premier MP Saad Hariri made a surprise return to Lebanon last week after three years abroad.

His trip follows his announcement that Saudi Arabia, one of his chief allies, would give $1 billion to shore up the army and security forces against jihadists.

Asked about the status of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Mashnouq said that they are divided into four categories: Those who are sentenced in their country and will not be deported, the ones who have in their possession legal identification papers, those who entered Lebanon illegally but the Lebanese General Security is legalizing their conditions and the ones who don’t have any identification papers.

However, he noted the the Syrian regime refuses to welcome back any refugees no matter what their legal status was.

On Saturday, Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali announced that the situation of Syrian refugees returning home has been solved after hundreds of them have been stranded in border areas in the past days following the clashes between army troops and jihadist militants in the northeastern border town of Arsal.

At least 47,000 Syrian refugees have taken shelter in Arsal, a town where many residents sympathize with the Syrian uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Hosting more than 1.2 million Syrians fleeing their country’s three-year war, Lebanon is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, and also to the highest refugee population per capita in the world.

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