Former Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil said in a speech delivered on March 24, 2023, that if the refugees in Lebanon are naturalized, this would lead to the dissolution of Lebanese culture, to a demographic transformation, and to sectarian imbalance. He said that Lebanon will not "voluntarily put our head in the noose" by succumbing to international pressure. Bassil's speech was aired on Al-Manar TV (Hizbullah-Lebanon).
Gebran Bassil: "There is a danger that [our] cultural identity will be dissolved by the [culture] of refugees and displaced people or by foreign cultures that will be forced upon us, or by infiltration of customs and practices dissimilar to ours. The source of the danger is international, unfortunately. There has been an international attempt from day one to change the status of the refugees and the displaced people to one of resettlement and naturalization.
"Unless they return quickly [to their country], this will lead to a demographic transformation, and to change the composition of all the sects. They will impose facts on the ground, which will end Lebanon's composition and identity.
"Just imagine what Lebanon will look like in 10 years, if the [refugees] stay here, and their birthrate continues to be five times our birthrate.
"I've been saying this for 10 years. Imagine them still with no citizenship, and the international community pressuring us to naturalize them. What will be left of our country and of us? We are not looking for a conflict with the West, but we will not voluntarily put our head in the noose and watch our country being destroyed for the sake of the West's interests."