President Michel Aoun received the United Nations’ Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Mr. Jan Kubis, together with the Ambassadors representing the members of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) in Baabda on December 9, 2019.
President Aoun informed the participants about the current political and economic situation in Lebanon and its root causes. He outlined the envisaged way forward, notably in regard to the forming of the new government soon through a process of binding parliamentary consultations.
He also requested the assistance of the international community in dealing with the economic situation and reforms, as well as with the return of Syrian refugees back home.
In his comments on behalf of UNSCOL, Mr. Kubis recalled the statement of the President of 31 October 2019, in particular, that the sole consideration for a new Government is that it lives up to the aspirations of the people, earns their confidence first before that of the Parliament to restore people’s confidence in their state and that ministers to be selected based on their competence.
President Aoun commended the meeting as a symbol of the support and solidarity of member states of the group towards Lebanon and its people – particularly during the strained economic conditions the country is going through.
Interestingly, and in quite a coincidence, statements and news about the meeting broke out on the International Day for Fighting Corruption. President Aoun even tweeted about it on that day, saying the following:
“We will continue to work, with all our efforts and energy, to eradicate the malicious germ of corruption which has taken its toll on the nation’s well-being, its institutions, the minds of many, and their practices in various segments, locations, and classes. We want integrity to become an approach and culture for the young and old, and a way of life.”
Following the meeting, the offices of UNSCOL released an official statement, which read:
“[…] it is essential that the authorities prioritize urgent measures to maintain the country’s monetary, financial and economic stability as well as to put the necessary reforms, good governance, end to corruption, and accountability without impunity on the right and fast track in a transparent manner. The financial and economic situation is critical, and the government and other authorities cannot wait any longer to start addressing it, starting with measures that will give the people confidence and guarantees that their licit lifetime savings are safe, that they can continue their normal life. The continuous absence of executive and legislative action only compounds the crisis, contributes to social instability.”
This meeting should allow the international community to call for the swift formation of an effective and credible government that will take the decisions needed to ensure economic recovery and respond to the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people.
The necessary conditions and the much-need anticipated reforms on the part of the Lebanese government must be clarified in order for the international community to be able to lend its support to Lebanon.
In the context of the challenging environment facing the country, France stands alongside Lebanon and the Lebanese people, in order to guarantee the country’s stability and security, which is critical for the region.
The UNSCOL stated that: “The UN remains committed to supporting Lebanon, its political independence, non-interference into internal matters, unity, stability, security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”