Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier has urged the Government to build on its work in Syria and vulnerable neighbouring nations in the Middle East.
During PMQs in the Commons yesterday, Mr Brazier asked the Prime Minister to use the support in Syria as a model for nearby Lebanon and Jordan.
Hansard 19 June 2013, Column 889:
Mr Julian Brazier (Canterbury) (Con): May I welcome my right hon. Friend’s leadership at the G8 to prevent the horrors of Syria from turning into a regional humanitarian catastrophe? May I also urge him to pursue further the support for Lebanon and Jordan, two very fragile neighbouring states, and especially to go further with the support we are providing for the Lebanese army, which is the only cross-confessional organisation in the area and a potential stabilising force?
The Prime Minister: I thank my hon. Friend for what he said about the G8. We did make some good progress on Syria, particularly on support in terms of humanitarian aid, where $1.5 billion extra was pledged for what is now becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises we have seen in recent years. He is absolutely right to say that we need to support the neighbouring states, and we should pay tribute to the Lebanese army, which plays a very important role—we do indeed fund its activity in terms of some of the border posts.
Speaking today Mr Brazier said:
“Both Lebanon and Jordan are vulnerable, with the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have poured in. We must do more to support them – financially but also with wider forms of aid. There is strong potential to build better ties with Lebanon because it has such a well-developed civic society and its army is the only credible, cross confessional force in the region.
“Whatever we can – or cannot – realistically do about Syria, preventative assistance in neighbouring states is essential to prevent regional meltdown. There are democratic elements in these countries Britain can help to better the security in the region,” Mr Brazier concluded.