United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended his warm greetings to the Lebanese people, expressing his readiness to visit Lebanon this week.
Guterres stressed that the people of Lebanon are characterized by generosity, resourcefulness and hospitality saying, “these are qualities, I personally experienced, during many visits to Lebanon while I was at the helm of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.’
He added via a video message to the Lebanese people, on the eve of his upcoming visit to Lebanon next Sunday: “I am deeply concerned about the ordeals you are facing today. Last year’s horrific explosion in the port of Beirut claimed dear lives, killing more than 200 people from more than a dozen countries – fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, friends, colleagues… The United Nations shares your grief. Two children of United Nations staff members were among the youngest victims of the explosion. The explosion also injured about seven thousand people, many of whom were permanently disabled, and destroyed thousands of homes. I know that the Lebanese people want answers to their questions, and I hear your demands for truth and justice.”
“The accumulated social, economic and political crises only increase your suffering. This suffering is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will come to Lebanon in this context with one simple message, which is that the United Nations stands with the Lebanese people. The entire United Nations family, including political teams, peacekeepers, humanitarian and development workers, is focused on supporting Lebanon and its people. During my visit, I will meet with various Lebanese leaders and personalities to discuss how to best support you in overcoming the crisis and promoting peace, stability, justice, development and human rights. I hope to have the opportunity to speak and listen to the Lebanese people of all backgrounds and communities,” Guterres added.
He continued: “The reality is that finding lasting solutions can only come from the heart of Lebanon. And thus, it is imperative that leaders put the people first, and implement the reforms needed to put Lebanon back on the right track, including efforts to enhance accountability and transparency and root out corruption. The elections scheduled for next year will be of fundamental importance. So the people of Lebanon must be fully involved in choosing the way forward for your country. It is imperative that women and young people have every possible opportunity to play their role fully. This is the only way that will ensure that Lebanon lays the foundations for a better future.”
Guterres concluded: “The United Nations will support Lebanon in every step of this process. As I look forward to my visit to the Land of the Cedars, I say thank you.”