17 March 2016 Deeply concerned over the 21-month vacancy in the presidency of Lebanon and the current political stalemate in Government, the United Nations Security Council today called on Lebanese leaders to adhere to the Constitution and put to put the country's stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics.
In a statement to the press, the Council reaffirmed its concern over the current political stalemate, calling it a serious impediment to Lebanon's ability to address the security, economic, social, and humanitarian challenges facing the country.
As such, the 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 and urged all parties to facilitate the functioning of state institutions and delivery of public services.
Expressing concern at the Parliament's inability to elect a President following a lack of quorum, the Council went on to reaffirm its 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 15-nation body 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.
Expressing continuing concern at the negative impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon's stability and the immediate threat to its security, the Council noted 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.
Gravely concerned by the impact of hosting over one million Syrian refugees registered with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon, the 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 Council's statement comes after the 15-member body was briefed yesterday by the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, on the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006) – which imposed a ceasefire and the Israeli-Hizbollah war of 2006 – and by Dimitry Titov, the Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Briefing the press after those consultations, Ms. Kaag said the political stalemate in Lebanon is impacting the day-to-day functioning of the country and the effectiveness of the Government.
“There is a steady but demonstrable erosion of the institutions of State. This is very important when you look at Lebanon as a country that is still a pluralistic society, diverse, democratic, is one of our 'last jewels' in the Middle East that is really dealing with so many other issues including extreme violence and constant conflict,” she explained, stressing: So we need the institutions of Lebanon to work. They are precious and they are important to the future of the country.”
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