Monday, March 28, 2016

Secretary-General’s joint press conference in Lebanon with the President of the Council of Ministers, Tammam Salam, the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Ahmad Al-Madani

Beirut, Lebanon, 24 March 2016
Mr. Prime Minister, Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Good afternoon everyone.  Salam Aleykum,
I am very pleased to be back in Lebanon. The United Nations has a major presence here and I thank Lebanon's leaders for the support they have extended to our Organization.  
Before I talk about my visit, I would like to express my deepest condolences for the death of a Lebanese soldier today in Wadi Rayan, in the outskirts of Arsal near the Syrian border.
This bomb attack underlines the importance of international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, to fight terrorism and to shield Lebanon from turmoil in the region.
My joint visit to Lebanon with the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Ahmad Al-Madani, shows that the international community is united and ready to offer its strong support for your country.
Few countries have demonstrated the generosity that the Government and people of Lebanon have shown towards Syrian refugees. Syria's neighbours are a model for other countries and regions that have far more resources than they do. 
The recent conference in London was a good starting point for a shift in approach towards addressing the Syrian crisis in Lebanon.
But we are all concerned that increasing numbers of Syrian and Palestinian refugees are living in dire poverty and resorting to child labour and other desperate measures.
We are equally concerned by the vulnerability of Lebanese host communities, especially in the most impoverished areas.
We are here to find ways to improve conditions for refugees, to support the communities hosting them, and to help mitigate the impact on Lebanon's economy. 
We are also concerned about the political situation in Lebanon which is contributing to an atmosphere of uncertainty.
Mr. Prime Minister, I appreciate your efforts to lead your government through such difficult times.
Lebanon's President is an important symbol of unity for its people, and a symbol of pluralism in this region. It is vital that the vacuum in the presidency is filled as soon as possible, in order for Lebanon to be whole again.
The United Nations is a steadfast partner to Lebanon through the presence of the 23 agencies, funds and programmes working here, the political mission and the peacekeeping mission.
Ten years after Security Council resolution 1701, there is relative calm across the Blue Line. UNIFIL in close coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces is the backbone of this stability.
The United Nations appreciates the important role of the Lebanese Armed Forces in an atmosphere of attacks and threats from extremist groups including Daesh. I echo the Security Council's clear calls for continued international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces.
In all my visits to this region, I must express my concern about the continued challenges faced by Palestinian refugees and the urgent need for a political solution, based on two states living side by side in peace and security.
Thank you. Shukran.
Q: You offered your condolences to the Lebanese army after the terrorist attack today that left one soldier killed, how can you support the Lebanese army practically after the halt of the Saudi grant?
SG: First of all, I would like to commend the excellent work of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It has been a source of encouragement that UNIFIL have been working very closely with the LAF. That partnership should continue. With this, we have been able to see peace and stability along the Blue Line. This year we mark the 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1701. Now what happened today where this bomb attack killed near the Syrian border a Lebanese soldier and what happened earlier in January and December last year and all these kinds of terrorist acts, we have to unite and take firm action to defeat the terrorist activities.
Whatever the circumstances, whatever the justifications they may have, those are not acceptable when it comes to terrorism. Now, it is important that the world community is united to defeat terrorism and extremism. At the same time the United Nations believes that it is even more important to address the root causes of how we can address this extremism and terrorism: why these young people who are easily becoming preys of extremists or terrorists or who fall trap to those extremists.
We have to be really careful in addressing the symptoms of all this. That's why I had proposed to the General Assembly of the United Nations the plan of action to prevent violent extremism. This proposal was adopted by unanimity on February 12 by the General Assembly. It contains about 70 recommendations that Member States can take and this might not apply to all countries […]
That's what I have discussed with the Prime Minister this afternoon and I'm asking that we have to show strong commitment and unity and solidarity to fight these extremists and terrorists and also to prepare groundwork so that we can prevent this extremism.
I have been urging world leaders in addressing this extremism and terrorism that there should be a good governance. When people are feeling that there is injustice, inequality, impunity for those people then people particularly young people, they are easily disillusioned, frustrated and they become easily targets of these extremists. And therefore, I'm urging world leaders that they should lead by example and by having good governance providing good opportunities- political, social, economic - to young people and vulnerable people. This is what I'm recommending to Member States.
Thank you very much.