The United Nations dismissed the claim that it will withdraw its employees from and/or cease its operations in Lebanon, declaring that “these speculations are unfounded.”
In an official statement released by United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ján Kubiš, the organization said:
“The United Nations is concerned to confirm that it does not plan to stop its operations or to evacuate its personnel from Lebanon.”
“On the contrary,” he declared, “the support provided by the United Nations through its activities and operations continues, and is growing at a faster rate, regardless of the challenges that have arisen from the emerging coronavirus epidemic.”
The statement concluded with the assurance that the UN is “committed to continuing its support for Lebanon and its people during this very challenging period.”
The false news that has recently been circulating social media claims that the intergovernmental organization has asked its staff in Lebanon to prepare their passports, implying an evacuation from Beirut in the near future.
Notably, Beirut was the first location for the UN-ESCWA, or the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, after it was founded in August 1973.
The UN House remained in Beirut until 1982 before being moved to Baghdad, Iraq (1982-1991), then to Amman, Jordan (1991-1997).
In 1997, ESCWA returned to its original location in the Lebanese capital, which has since been its permanent headquarters.
A few days ago, a United Nations World Food Program convoy of 39 trucks sparked controversy when it was intercepted by protesters in Tripoli while transporting food to Syria.
On a side note, the issue of smuggling diesel fuel, food, and other commodities to Syria has been a hot topic in Lebanon, especially in light of the pandemic, the financial crisis, and the overall economic and political instability.