BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's prime minister says he welcomes international efforts to ensure the return of Syrian refugees to their homes and awaits a roadmap being developed by the Russian ministry of defense on the matter.

Saad Hariri says in a statement issued by his office on Tuesday that he hopes the plan, in coordination with the U.S. administration, the United Nations and other relevant parties, will be a serious effort to resolve the refugee crisis.

Last week, Russia's Defense Ministry said it proposed to the United States the creation of a joint group, along with Jordan, to organize refugee returns.

Close to 1 million Syrians are registered with the U.N.'s refugee agency in Lebanon, a burden that the cash-strapped Lebanese government says it can no longer bear.