March 25, 2016 - 14:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The World Bank and Islamic Development Bank have signed agreements worth hundreds of millions of dollars to help Lebanon cope with the large number of Syrian refugees who were displaced by their country's civil war, the Associated Press reports.
The announcement was made after a Thursday, March 24 meeting between Prime Minister Tammam Salam and visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Islamic Development Bank President Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani.
Lebanon is home to more than 1 million registered Syrian refugees, or nearly a quarter of the country's 4.5 million people. Lebanon says that another half a million Syrians live in the country as well.
"The Syrian refugees' presence in Lebanon has generated a severe burden that Lebanon is no longer able to face alone," said Salam during a joint news conference with the visiting dignitaries.
The World Bank president said that it has already signed agreements worth $900 million with Lebanon, saying that the World Bank is doing all it can to get that money out, but progress has been slow because Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 and parliament rarely meets.
The head of the Islamic Development Bank announced that five agreements have been signed to help Lebanon, and pledged to help more in the future.
"We have signed five agreements worth $373 million. There is another agreement that will be signed soon, God willing, in which the amount will be $400 million," Al-Madani said. He added that several projects are underway and "we expect that during this year there will be agreements worth $220 million."