Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the formation of new Government in Lebanon

21 January 2020
Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the formation of a new Government of Lebanon today. He looks forward to working with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the incoming Council of Ministers, including in support of Lebanon's reform agenda and to address the pressing needs of its people.
 
The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations commitment to support Lebanon's strengthening of its sovereignty, stability and political independence in accordance with the Taif Accord and Baabda declaration, and its effective implementation of Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1559 (2004) and other relevant resolutions which remain essential to the stability of Lebanon and the region.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Final Statement International Support Group For Lebanon (ISG) (Paris, 11 December 2019)

1. A meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG), jointly chaired by France and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, was held in Paris on December 11th. China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the League of Arab States, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation took part in the meeting. Representatives of the Lebanese authorities also attended the discussions.

2. Lebanon has been left without a government for more than six weeks since Saad Hariri resigned on October 29th. The Group considers that preserving Lebanon's stability, unity, security, sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity requires the urgent formation of an effective and credible government capable to meet the aspirations expressed by all the Lebanese that will have the capacity and credibility to deliver the necessary substantive policy package of economic reforms, and that will be committed to dissociate the country from regional tensions and crisis. It is urgent for the new government to be in place as quickly as possible.

3. The Group noted that Lebanon faces a deep economic and social crisis which has placed the country at risk of a chaotic unwinding of its economy and of increased instability. In order to halt the sharp deterioration in the economy and financial sector, to restore confidence in the economy and to address, in a sustainable manner, the social and economic challenges, there is an urgent need for the adoption of a substantial, credible and comprehensive policy package of economic reforms to restore fiscal balance and financial stability and address long-lasting structural deficiencies in the Lebanese economy. A sustainable financing model is needed to reduce the economy's vulnerability and reliance on external funding. These measures are of utmost importance to bring answers to the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people.

4. The context requires, as part of a stabilization strategy, that Lebanese authorities fully commit themselves to timely and decisive measures and reforms. The Group therefore calls upon Lebanon to immediately adopt a reliable 2020 budget as a first step towards a multi-year fiscal program, including permanent revenue and expenditure measures, aiming at sustainable improvement of the primary balance, while strengthening social safety nets to protect the poorest and most vulnerable, and a debt management strategy. It also urges the Lebanese authorities to take decisive action to restore the stability and sustainability of the funding model of the financial sector, to tackle corruption and tax evasion (including adoption of an anti-corruption national strategy, the anti-corruption agency law and judicial reform and other measures to instill transparency and accountability), to reform state-owned enterprises and implement the electricity reform plan including governance-enhancing mechanism (through an independent regulatory body), and to markedly improve economic governance and the business environment, through the passing of and effectively implementing procurement laws.

5. On the longer run, within the first six months after the formation of the government, ambitious structural measures to ensure a sustainable economic model should be put in place. The Group reaffirms that the conclusions of the CEDRE Conference, agreed upon by the Lebanese authorities on April 6, 2018, are still valid. In this regard, the Lebanese authority should accelerate implementation of existing projects and commit to prioritize the different projects of the Capital Investment Plan in line with people's needs and expectations and set up an interministerial committee to oversee their timely implementation. The Group considers that the support from international financial institutions is pivotal to help the authorities sustain their efforts to implement the necessary economic reforms over time.

6. The Group reaffirms its willingness to support a Lebanon committed to reforms in the implementation of such a comprehensive set of actions, including through technical assistance to a new government, and to ensure Lebanon's access to basic goods and trade facilities, as currently provided for by trade facilitation programs, to preserve the livelihood of the population and economic resilience. It encourages the Lebanese authorities to identify reasonable and sustainable ways to face the current crisis, notably through support from their development partners, including international financial institutions.

7. The Group commends the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces for their actions in securing the peaceful character of the protests and the rights of citizens more broadly. The Group reiterates that the right to peaceful protest must continue to be respected and call on all sides to act responsibly.

8. The Lebanese delegation discussed the conclusions of the meeting with its participants. It indicated Lebanon's appreciation for the support granted by the Group and Lebanon's determination to implement its conclusions with the support of the international community. Against this backdrop, the Group reaffirmed its readiness to accompany Lebanon in swiftly defining precise measures to be taken and modalities of support, inclusive dialogue with civil society and the private sector being part of this process.

9. The Group welcomes the prospect of future meetings with different configurations and levels as needed.

Monday, November 25, 2019

PRESS ELEMENTS FROM THE SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON RESOLUTION 1701 AND LEBANON

25 Nov 2019
The Security Council received a briefing from the UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis and Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiare. They briefed the Council on the situation in Lebanon and this was part of the regular meeting on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006).

The members of the Security Council commended the role of UNIFIL in maintaining calm along the Blue Line, its cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces with the aim of extending the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory and they stressed the importance of UNIFIL being able to fulfill its mandate.

The members of the Security Council also noted that this is a critical time for Lebanon. They stressed the importance of the timely formation of a new government able to respond to the aspirations of the Lebanese people and to restore the stability of the country within the constitutional framework.

The members of the Security Council called on all actors to conduct intensive national dialogue and to maintain the peaceful character of the protests by avoiding violence and respecting the right to peaceful assembly and protests. They commended the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces and other State security institutions in protecting this right.

The members of the Security Council emphasized the need for the Lebanese authorities to implement meaningful economic reforms in timely fashion and under a Lebanon owned and led process and notably the commitments made at the International Support Group for Lebanon and the Rome 2 and CEDRE conferences. They called on the international community, including international organizations, to ensure continued support for Lebanon in addressing the security, economic and humanitarian challenges facing the country.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong support for the stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.

QUESTION: (on protecting the peaceful demonstrations?)

PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL: There was a lot of concern about those but we heard from the Special Coordinator who was very clear that some good steps had been taken, including by the Lebanese Armed Forces, but it is also vital that all parties make sure that there is no violence as well as allow peaceful protests to continue.

QUESTION: Did you discuss the financial crisis in Lebanon?

PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL: we discussed a wide range of security, humanitarian and economic challenges facing Lebanon at this precise moment and as I said in the statement, the members of the Security Council emphasized the need for the Lebanese authorities to implement the commitments made at the various international conferences.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

BRIEFING TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

NICKOLAY MLADENOV
SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
BRIEFING TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
20 November 2019 [As Delivered].
Excerpt
In Lebanon, peaceful nationwide and non-sectarian demonstrations triggered by frustration against government policies led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on 29 October. Security forces have largely responded with restraint allowing peaceful demonstrations to continue despite heightened tensions at roadblocks. After one month of unabated protests, a political deadlock hinders the nomination of a Prime Minister-designate and the formation of a new government, amidst a rapidly deteriorating economic situation. The United Nations has called for a swift formation of government that is responsive to the protestors aspirations and which has the parliament's backing. The UN also encourages the Lebanese security forces to continue to protect peaceful demonstrators.

In the UNIFIL area of operations, following decreased joint operations with the Lebanese Armed Forces prompted by the popular protests, UNIFIL's operations in close coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces returned to normal levels in early November.

The Council will be briefed on resolution 1701 on 25 November.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS IN LEBANON, INCLUDING RESIGNATION ANNOUNCEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER HARIRI

29 Oct2019


NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS

In response to questions on Lebanon

Following questions at the noon briefing on Lebanon, the Spokesperson has the following to say:

The Secretary-General is closely following developments in Lebanon, including today's resignation announcement by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

He appeals for calm and restraint.

He calls on all political actors to seek a political solution that will preserve the stability of the country and respond to the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

He calls on all actors to avoid violence and respect the rights to peaceful assembly and expression.  

New York, 29 October 2019


UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON ON RESIGNATION OF PRIME MINISTER HARIRI

29 Oct2019


The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis notes the announcement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitting his resignation.

The Special Coordinator urges the authorities to act decisively and quickly to form, within the constitutional norms, a new government responding to the aspiration of the people and able to gain their confidence, to provide security, law and order, and to pursue and implement deep reforms and changes, to stop the economic decline and put the country on the track of recovery, sustainable development, inclusive growth, and stability, preserving the unity of Lebanon and its people.

In the meantime, he urges the authorities to preserve the stability of the state and its institutions and to ensure their smooth functioning.

He calls upon all leaders, and political forces to refrain from rhetoric and action that could inflame tensions and incite confrontation and violence, all Lebanese people to maintain calm and show restraint.

The Special Coordinator urges the legitimate security forces to maintain law, order, and security, to take action against those that instigate violence, regardless of their party affiliation and to protect demonstrating civilians that need to maintain the peaceful character of their protests. He reminds the political parties that they bear the full responsibility for the behavior and action of their supporters and for controlling them, especially if they provoke clashes with peaceful protesters or security forces. 

The UN remains committed to supporting Lebanon, its political independence, stability, security, unity, and territorial integrity.



Thursday, September 26, 2019

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with H.E. General Michel Aoun, President of the Lebanese Republic

25 September 2019
The Secretary-General met with H.E. General Michel Aoun, President of the Lebanese Republic.  The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Lebanon's generosity in hosting refugees while underscoring the need to find durable solutions.  The Secretary-General and President Aoun discussed the importance of resolution 1701 (2006) and the contribution of UNIFIL in maintaining stability.  They also exchanged views on regional developments, highlighting the importance of promoting dialogue.