SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 October 2022, Sunday |

Guterres: Supporting the Lebanese army and security institutions is essential to Lebanon’s stability

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, asserted that effort is underway to overcome the successive crises that Lebanon suffers by developing an economic recovery plan to be presented to the International Monetary Fund in parallel with various reforms in the economic, financial and administrative fields, and a review of a number of state administrations and spending control.  Stop wasting state money, combat corruption, and achieve the forensic auditing of of the Banque du Liban, in revealing those responsible for the losses incurred in the country over the past years.

President Aoun also indicated that the goal remains to adopt sustainable governance that corrects the imbalance in state institutions.

In addition, the President stressed that Lebanon will witness next spring parliamentary elections that will be provided with all needed to be transparent and fair, welcoming any role that the United Nations can play in overseeing these elections in coordination with the concerned Lebanese authorities.

President Aoun called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to find a new approach to case the displaced Syrians in Lebanon and to encourage their safe return to their villages and homeland.

President Aoun also indicated that “Lebanon is committed to its full sovereignty, investing its Natural resources, especially in the oil and gas fields, and always readiness to follow up on the indirect negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders”.

The President’s words came during a joint speech addressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to journalists, after talks that took place this afternoon at Baabda Palace.

For his part, Mr. Gutierres affirmed that he carries one simple message, which is that the United Nations stands in solidarity with the Lebanese people, calling on the international community to strengthen its support for Lebanon.

Guterres said: “The political leaders in Lebanon, when witnessing the suffering of the Lebanese people, do not have the right to divide and paralyze the country. “The President of the Republic must be the symbol of this necessary unity. Elections next year will be the key, and the Lebanese people must strongly engage in the process of choosing how the country will progress. Women and youth must have all opportunities to play their full role”.

Guterres also revealed that the United Nations will support Lebanon in every step of this process,” noting “there will be a continuous international support for the Lebanese army and other security institutions”.

Arrival and Conversations

The Secretary-General of the United Nations had arrived at Baabda Palace, where the United Nations flag was raised on the mast alongside the Lebanese flag. A company of the Republican Guard Brigade held ceremonies, where Guterres entered the middle of two rows of spears, before President Aoun received him in the Ambassadors’ Salon. Then, a bilateral meeting was held, followed by an expanded meeting that included President Aoun and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with the two official delegations.

On the Lebanese side, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Ambassador Abdullah Bouhabib, the President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, Mrs. Claudine Aoun, the advisor of President Aoun, former Minister Salim Jreissati, the Director-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations, Ambassador Amal Mudallali, and the advisors, Brigadier General  Boulos Matar, Rafic Chelala, and Osama Khashab, attended.

The delegation accompanying Mr. Gutierrez, attending the joint meeting, included: Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ms. Joanna Frontka, the Force Commander of UNIFIL in  South Lebanon, General Stefano Del Col, Director and Coordinator of the Secretary-General’s visit, Miguel Graca, and Ms. Saskia Raming.

During the expanded meeting, President Aoun focused on the old true partnership between Lebanon and the UN, thanking the solidarity with Lebanon.

The President also stressed the importance of the support of the international community, and thanked Guterres for appointing the Lebanese Ambassador, Caroline Ziadeh, to the new post of Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

For her part, the President of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, Mrs. Claudine Aoun, said: “We support your vision, through the “common agenda”, and are committed to supporting you by implementing your own vision with regard to women, youth and growth”.

Mrs. Aoun also thanked the Secretary-General for the technical assistance provided by various United Nations agencies in order to put into effect the resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council, which is related to women, peace and security.  Aoun also indicated that the Lebanese government approved an action plan in October of 2019, in this regard. 30% of the activities noted in it have been accomplished, despite the difficulties that Lebanon has gone through, 60% are in progress, and 10% are specifically related to the role of women in consolidating the bonds of peace.

Referring to the efforts made to move forward in implementing what the plan noted, especially in terms of supporting the role of women and their mediation in peace initiatives and conflict resolution, starting from the local level to the national reality.

Mrs. Aoun concluded by noting that the biggest challenge remains in urging political leaders to adopt measures that would allow for the effective participation of women in political and economic decision-making positions, as well as in peace negotiations and reconstruction.

Gutierres responded, expressing his appreciation for Lebanon’s commitment to women’s rights, praising the effort made for women’s participation in parliamentary elections. Guterres also supported the idea of ​​a quota for women in parliamentary representation.

For his part, Mr. Lacroix presented a report on the security situation in the south, and the work of the international forces in cooperation with the Lebanese army through the existing partnership between them, addressing the difficulties facing the work of “UNIFIL” and the need for cooperation to overcome them.

President Aoun:

Speech by President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun

Press conference UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Sunday 19/12/2021

“Welcome Secretary-General to Lebanon, on your first visit, while you are at the helm of the international organization, after you took over from 2005 to 2015 the responsibility of the UNHCR.

Lebanon and the United Nations have a deep partnership that goes back to the establishment of the organization, as Lebanon was one of the fifty countries that participated in the founding of the United Nations in 1945 in San Francisco, and among those who contributed to the drafting of the Bill of Human Rights in 1948.

Through out the many crises that have struck Lebanon since 1948 and the Palestinian refuge to Lebanon until this day, through the Lebanese internal war, and the many Israeli wars, up to the repercussions of the massive Syrian displacement, the explosion of the Port of Beirut, the financial and economic crisis, and the repercussions of the current unprecedented crises;  The United Nations was a supportive factor of stability, especially through the UNIFIL forces in the south, and a partner in development through its agencies operating in Lebanon.

I discussed with His Excellency the successive crises that Lebanon suffers and the ways to overcome them, especially those related to the economic and living conditions that have deteriorated in recent months.  I assured His Excellency the Secretary-General that we are working to overcome them even gradually, by developing an economic recovery plan to present it to the International Monetary Fund and to negotiate with multiple reforms in the economic, financial and administrative fields, reviewing a number of state departments, controlling spending, combating corruption, and achieving forensic auditing in the accounts of Banque du Liban. The objectives are to expose officials to the losses that have befallen the country over the past years.  The goal remains to adopt sustainable governance that corrects the imbalance that has plagued state institutions.

I assured His Excellency that Lebanon will witness next spring parliamentary elections and will provide every tool to be transparent and fair, reflecting the true will of the Lebanese in choosing their representatives and welcome any role that the United Nations can play in following up on these elections, in coordination with the competent Lebanese authorities.

We also discussed the Syrian displacement, and stressed the need to find a new approach to the case of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which is an ongoing and escalating crisis for more than 10 years, and the huge burdens on Lebanon, especially in light of the current circumstances, and the need for the international community to assume its responsibilities and encourage the safe  return of the displaced to their villages and homeland.

With regard to the situation with Israel, I reiterated to His Excellency Lebanon’s commitment to the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 in all its aspects, maintaining stability on the southern border, and permanent cooperation between the Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces.

I pointed out the continued Israeli violations of land, sea and air, especially the use of Lebanese airspace for repeated air attacks on Syria.

I stressed Lebanon’s adherence to  its sovereignty over its entire territory, and the full rights to invest its natural resources, especially in the oil and gas fields, and its constant readiness to follow up on indirect negotiations to demarcate the southern maritime borders.

Finally, I renew my gratitude to the international organization and all its bodies working in Lebanon for all the efforts made, and I especially thank His Excellency the Secretary-General for his permanent solidarity with Lebanon, which was manifested the aids and the holding of special conferences in support of the Lebanese people.”

Mr. Guterres:

REMARKS TO MEDIA AFTER MEETING WITH
H.E. MR. MICHEL AOUN, PRESIDENT OF LEBANON

19 December 2021

“Good afternoon, I am happy to be back in Lebanon.

I have just had a productive meeting with President Aoun, where I thanked him for his hospitality.

I also expressed the gratitude of the United Nations and the international community for Lebanon’s generosity in hosting so many refugees from the Syrian conflict.

I was previously the High Commissioner for Refugees for ten years, and through my experience throughout these years, I have found few countries and peoples that have been so generous towards refugees, as Lebanon has been towards Syrian refugees.  It has had huge repercussions on the Lebanese economy as well as on the Lebanese society, and because of the conflict in Syria, the security situation in Lebanon has also been affected.  And I believe that the international community did not sufficiently support Lebanon, as it did towards other countries that opened their borders, doors and hearts to refugees, while unfortunately some of the most capable countries closed their own borders.  Hence, the example of Lebanon is an example that calls for responsibility on the part of those in charge of international security in order to fully support Lebanon in order to face the burdens it is facing in the current navigation.

I told the President that I have come with one simple message: the United Nations stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon.

During my visit, I will meet a wide range of political, religious and civil society leaders, including women and youth.

My objective is to discuss how we can best support the Lebanese people to overcome the current economic and financial crisis and promote peace, stability and sustainable development.

I urge the country’s politicians to work together to resolve this crisis. And I call on the international community to strengthen its support to Lebanon.

The Lebanese people expect their political leaders to restore the economy, provide a functioning government and state institutions, end corruption and safeguard human rights.

Seeing the suffering of the people of Lebanon, Lebanese political leaders do not have the right to be divided and paralyze the country.

The President of the Lebanese Republic must be the symbol of that necessary unity.

Next year’s elections will be key. Lebanon’s people must be fully engaged in choosing how the country moves forward.

Women and young people must have every opportunity to play their full part as Lebanon strives to overcome its many challenges and lays the foundations for a better future.

The United Nations will support Lebanon on every step of this journey.

As part of our commitment to Lebanon’s stability, I will visit UNIFIL in southern Lebanon.

Commitment to the full implementation of Resolution 1701 and maintaining the cessation of hostilities across the Blue Line and decreasing tensions between the parties is crucial.

I take this opportunity to salute the thousands of women and men peacekeepers who are far from their families and countries serving peace in Lebanon.

I would also like to stress that continued international support to the Lebanese army and other state security institutions is essential for the stability of Lebanon.

Lebanon is facing a very difficult stage, and I urge the Lebanese leaders to deserve their people, and I urge the international community to keep pace with the generosity of the Lebanese people.

I encourage all Member States to continue and increase their support.

Thank you.”

———————

Book of Honor:

Message from the Secretary-General in the Presidential Book of Honour

As I embark on my first trip to Lebanon in my capacity as Secretary-General, I cannot but recall impressions from my previous visits to this beautiful land with its vibrant socio-cultural fabric, rich in diversity, the most enterprising population and their proverbial hospitality.

That hospitality was on generous display this evening at the palace, and I thank His Excellency President Michel Aoun for extending this warm welcome to me and my colleagues from the United Nations.

I had the opportunity to share perspectives with the President on Lebanon’s current predicament, and the way forward towards a prosperous future.

As I set out to meet a cross-section of the population over the next two days, my special concerns remain with the most vulnerable groups, but also those sections of the population whose aspirations will define the future of this country – the ambitious young women and men of Lebanon whose talent and industry continue to defy all adversities.

I have assured the President that the United Nations will always stand by Lebanon in its journey towards a more stable, peaceful and prosperous future.

Special Dinner:

Finally, the President hosted a special dinner for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, during a review of the points discussed in the official talks was done.

    Source:
  • Asharq Al-Awsat