Ján Kubiš, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific have briefed the United Nations Security Council virtually on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) based on the latest report of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Special Coordinator highlighted “the importance of continuous support for UNIFIL, that plays a critical role in maintaining calm along the Blue line, security and stability in the South and in the region,” said a statement issued by Kubiš’ office.
“The Special Coordinator briefed on recent developments in Lebanon. He noted with grave concern the deepening socio-economic crisis and collapse, that rapidly pushes growing numbers of Lebanese and refugees in deep poverty and food insecurity without a functioning social protection system, all that exacerbated by the exponential growth of Covid-19 pandemics that puts additional stress on already overstretched health and educational sectors,” the statement added.
He noted a particularly negative impact on women and youth, on vulnerable groups, while emphasizing “the urgent need for the formation by the PM-designate Saad Hariri of a new competent, empowered and professional government to carry out vital reforms and address the accumulating socio-economic and financial crises facing the country, starting with the full and timely implementation of the road-map facilitated by France.”
When addressing the “legitimate demands of the people” he stressed the importance of “an inclusive approach and engaging in this civil society, women and youth, also in preparations for the coming 2022 elections.”
With respect to the tragic 4 August Beirut Port explosion, the Special Coordinator welcomed the widespread humanitarian assistance from the international community in its aftermath.
He confirmed continued U.N. support in line with the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) developed together with the World Bank and the EU to be presented at the upcoming Lebanon support conference co-chaired by Guterres and President Emmanuel Macron of France.
Kubiš also noted “lack of clarity” on the investigations into the blast, informed about numerous appeals and petitions of citizenry in this regard and reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation to ensure accountability, justice and help prevent such tragedies from recurring.
Security Council members meanwhile echoed concern at “the lack of progress on the formation of the government despite the country’s pressing challenges and increasing problems,” the statement said.
Expressing solidarity with the Lebanese people, they underscored the need for Lebanon’s leaders to form without further delay “a competent Government capable of swiftly delivering indispensable reform, which was key for future international assistance.”
Security Council members also reiterated support for Lebanon and its sovereignty and territorial integrity and welcomed the launch of discussions between Lebanon and Israel on the delineation of their maritime boundary that is facilitated by the U.S. and hosted by UNSCOL in UNIFIL premises in Naqoura.