United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Lebanon from Saudi Arabia in the evening of Thursday, 29 March. He made brief remarks to the press on arrival at Beirut airport.
On Friday morning, his day began with a briefing by Serge Brammertz, Commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission.
He held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff in Lebanon, and with senior staff.
He met with Speaker of the Assembly, Nabih Berri, following which he told waiting media that they had discussed cooperation with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as well as the issue of the special tribunal of an international character. He emphasized his commitment to the establishment of that tribunal as soon as possible, saying that he welcomes Lebanese national consensus on the tribunal, but stresses the importance of moving forward on this issue.
He also met that day with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and members of his Cabinet. The discussed Security Council resolution 1701 (2007) and its application, as well as the creation of an international tribunal.
Following lunch hosted by Prime Minister Siniora and a meeting with the Security Coordination Committee, the Secretary-General told reporters later at a joint press conference that he was disappointed that the political crisis that has now lasted some four months has not been resolved, and he added that the path of dialogue and compromise has to be the way forward out of this impasse. He also noted the continued Israeli overflights of Lebanon, saying: “These violations of Lebanese sovereignty must stop.”
The Secretary-General also met with other Lebanese political leaders, including Member of Parliament Saad Hariri and the Leader of the Druze Community, Walid Jumblatt, and in the evening he met with Mohammad Fneish, resigned Minister of Energy; General Michel Aoun, leader of the Christian Opposition; and leaders of the 14 March Christian Community.
On Saturday, the Secretary-General left Beirut by helicopter for Naqoura, where he met UNIFIL’s Force Commander, General Claudio Graziano and officers of the Force. In a special ceremony, the Secretary-General laid a wreath to the fallen soldiers and addressed the civilian and military staff, expressing his gratitude to the troops serving in Lebanon. He also explained his restructuring efforts to strengthen the capacity of peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General held a press conference in Naqoura before taking a helicopter tour along the Blue Line, with stops at Sheikh Abbad Tomb and Marjayoun, where he had lunch with the troops.
The delegation returned to Beirut in the afternoon, before flying to London that evening and New York the following day.