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BEIRUT – Lebanon's caretaker foreign minister is threatening to increase pressure on the U.N. refugee agency if it does not change its policies, which he says discourage Syrian refugees from returning to their country.
Gibran Bassil made his comments in Geneva following a meeting with Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, days after the Lebanese official ordered a freeze on the renewal of residency permits for UNHCR staff.
Bassil said he is ready to lift the measures "if I see tangible steps," adding that he is also ready to take further steps if things continue as they are.
Lebanon is home to more than a million Syrian refugees, or about a quarter of the country's population, putting a huge strain on the economy.