UNSC Press Statement on the Situation in Lebanon
The members of the Security Council were briefed on 16 March 2016 by the Special Coordinator for Lebanon of the Secretary-General, Sigrid Kaag, on the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and by Dimitry Titov, the Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their deep concern over the 21-month vacancy in the presidency of Lebanon and the current political stalemate in government, which seriously impair Lebanon’s ability to address the security, economic, social, and humanitarian challenges facing the country. The members of the Security Council called on all Lebanese leaders to adhere to Lebanon’s Constitution and to the Taif Agreement and National Pact, to put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics. The members of the Security Council urged all parties to facilitate the functioning of state institutions and delivery of public services. The members of the Security Council expressed concern at the Parliament’s inability to elect a President following a lack of quorum and reaffirmed their call on all Lebanese leaders to act responsibly and with leadership and flexibility to urgently convene a parliamentary session and proceed to the election of a President. The members of the Security Council commended the Government of Lebanon for setting the dates for local elections and further called on the Lebanese authorities to hold them within the set calendar.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon. They underscored the crucial role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and security forces in extending and sustaining the authority of the State and supporting the country’s stability. The members of the Security Council reiterated in this regard their call for the continuation of international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces through additional and expedited assistance in areas where the Lebanese Armed Forces are most critically in need of support, including counter-terrorism and border protection.
The members of the Security Council expressed their continuing concern at the negative impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon’s stability and the immediate threat to its security. The Security Council notes with deep concern all border violations, including the presence of terrorist and violent extremist groups in Lebanese territory, the deepening involvement of some Lebanese parties in the fighting in Syria and the risks this poses for Lebanon’s stability and for the Lebanese people. The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of Lebanon’s policy of disassociation and called on all Lebanese parties to cease any involvement in the Syrian crisis, consistent with their commitment in the ministerial declaration of the current Government and in the Baabda Declaration of 12 June 2012.
The members of the Security Council continue to be gravely concerned by the impact of hosting over 1 million Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon. The members of the Security Council underscored that support to Lebanon’s efforts to manage the impact of the influx of refugees, including on essential services such as education and health, is crucial to preserving Lebanon’s stability and security. The members of the Security Council welcomed the pledges at the London conference of 04 February 2016, urges the international community to urgently disburse those pledges and encourages the implementation of the mutual commitments.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and renewed its call for all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel. The members of the Security Council urged all parties to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained.
The members of the Security Council expressed appreciation for the International Support Group for Lebanon and urged the Group to continue its work in coordination with the Special Coordinator to seek opportunities to help address rising challenges to Lebanon’s security and stability.