The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Koro Bessho (Japan):
The members of the Security Council welcomed Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to Lebanon and his decision to continue his term. In that context, they commended the convening in Paris on 8 December 2017 of a ministerial meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon, chaired by the United Nations and France and attended by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, and the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting. They also welcomed previous efforts which contributed to the resumption of the Council of Ministers on 5 December 2017.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong support for the stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006) and 1559 (2004), as well as other relevant Security Council resolutions and statements of the President of the Security Council on the situation in Lebanon.
The members of the Security Council recalled the need to protect Lebanon from the crises that are destabilizing the Middle East. In this regard, the members of the Security Council called upon all regional States and organizations to work for the political, social, economic and financial stability and security of Lebanon, in full respect of its sovereignty and integrity.
The members of the Security Council called upon all Lebanese parties to implement a tangible policy of disassociation from any external conflicts, as an important priority, as spelled out in previous declarations, in particular the 2012 Baabda Declaration.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the ongoing efforts of the Lebanese authorities to restore normal functioning of institutions and prepare for the holding of legislative elections by May 2018. They also called upon the Government of Lebanon to further accelerate its programme of reforms in order to ensure political and economic stability built on a functional, transparent and democratic State, with full participation of both women and men.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 1559 (2004), 1701 (2006) and 2373 (2017). They commended the role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in maintaining calm along the Blue Line and its cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces with the aim of extending the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory. The members of the Security Council recalled the proactive steps that UNIFIL has taken to operationalize resolution 2373 (2017) and encouraged UNIFIL to continue these efforts.
Given the security challenges faced by Lebanon, particularly the terrorist threat, the members of the Security Council commended the role played by the Lebanese Armed Forces and by all security institutions of the State in protecting the country, its borders and its population. They recalled the importance of implementing previous commitments which require that there will be no weapons other than those of the Lebanese State and called on all Lebanese parties to resume discussions towards a consensus on a National Defence Strategy. They recalled that the Lebanese Armed Forces are the only legitimate armed forces of Lebanon, as enshrined in the Lebanese Constitution and in the Taif Agreement.
The members of the Security Council commended the generous and long-standing efforts made by the Lebanese people and the Lebanese authorities to host Syrian refugees. They recalled that any returns of refugees, when conditions allow, must be in full compliance with international law, including international refugee law, and with respect for humanitarian principles, and the principle of non‑refoulement.
The members of the Security Council encouraged the international community to continue and increase its support to Lebanon’s political, social and economic stability, including through the appropriate provision of assistance for Lebanese host communities and refugees in Lebanon.
They took note of the agenda set out in the International Support Group for Lebanon Final Declaration in support of Lebanon.
The members of the Security Council urged the International Support Group for Lebanon to continue its work, in coordination with the office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, to seek opportunities to help address the challenges to Lebanon’s security and stability.