“Poland must not remain indifferent to the suffering experienced by victims of the Syria conflict. Polish aid has provided homes to 600 refugee families, i.e. over three thousand people who fled to North Lebanon. They have been living there for two years now,” said MFA Undersecretary of State Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, who paid an official visit to Lebanon on 18-21 November 2013.
At the Lebanese Foreign Ministry, Deputy Minister Pełczyńska-Nałęcz took part in political consultations that focused on Poland-Lebanon relations and the Middle East security situation, including developments in Syria. During her visit to the country, the deputy chief of Poland’s diplomacy also met with Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Grand Mufti of Lebanon, and Archbishop Paul Sayah, Vicar General of the Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch and the Whole East. With the spiritual leaders Deputy Minister Pełczyńska-Nałęcz discussed, among other things, the situation of Christians in the Middle East.
Moreover, Undersecretary Pełczyńska – Nałęcz travelled to North Lebanon, where the Polish Centre for International Aid has been implementing a project to benefit Syrian refugees. The initiative is funded by the Polish MFA. In the villages of Bire and Kherbet Daoud, she met with several refugee families. “All refugees covered by the Polish aid project will receive stoves and blankets that will help them survive the winter. We’ve been trying to provide them with decent living conditions for the time before they go back to their homes,” said the Deputy Minister.
An important item on her agenda was also the meeting with Ninette Kelly, the Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon. The talks focused on Poland’s involvement in humanitarian aid for people affected by the Syria conflict. Since 2012, Poland has allocated over three million euros to helping victims of the war. Lebanon is now home to over 800,000 Syrian refugees. The number of displaced people in Syria is estimated at over six million.