The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Karel Jan Gustaaf van Oosterom (Netherlands):
The members of the Security Council commended the convening in Rome on 15 March of a ministerial meeting in support of Lebanon’s Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces, under the auspices of the International Support Group for Lebanon and under the chairmanship of the United Nations and Italy. They welcomed the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to the stability, security, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, in accordance with Security Council resolutions and expressed their support to the ongoing efforts of the Lebanese authorities to prepare the holding of legislative elections of 6 May in accordance with international standards.
The members of the Security Council recalled the statements of the International Support Group on 8 December 2017, and of the Security Council on 19 December 2017, commending the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces and of all State security institutions in protecting the country, its borders and its population, and recalling that the Lebanese Armed Forces are the only legitimate armed forces of Lebanon, as enshrined in the Lebanese Constitution and Taif Agreement. They saluted the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces in successfully containing and ultimately defeating the territorial ambitions of Da’esh, Al-Nusrah and other United Nations designated terrorist groups in Lebanon. They commended the role of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces amongst the legitimate security institutions of the Lebanese State.
The members of the Security Council recalled relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), 1701 (2006) and 2373 (2017), including provisions that there be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State, no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its Government and no sale or supply of arms related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its Government.
The members of the Security Council called on all Lebanese parties to resume discussions towards a consensus on a national defence strategy and welcomed the 12 March statement of the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Aoun, in this regard.
The members of the Security Council urged all Lebanese parties to implement and further expand without delay a tangible policy of disassociation as a matter of priority, to shield Lebanon from regional conflicts and to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of other states, as spelled out in previous declarations, in particular the 2012 Baabda Declaration.
The members of the Security Council 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 to enhance its efforts in this regard.
Within the framework of Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006) and 2373 (2017), the members of the Security Council welcomed Lebanon’s concept for a new model regiment proposed in the context of the ongoing strategic dialogue between the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL, and called on them to step up their coordinated actions in UNIFIL’s area of operations. The members of the Security Council noted the recent redeployment of additional Lebanese Armed Forces personnel to the area south of the Litani River, and called on the Government of Lebanon to accelerate effective and durable deployments to the south.
The members of the Security Council appreciated the continuing strength of commitment of the international community in supporting Lebanon’s political, social and economic stability, security and sovereignty.
The members of the Security Council appreciated the importance of past contributions, welcomed the substantial contributions offered by Lebanon’s partners during the Rome meeting and acknowledged the need to mobilize new support to ensure continued support to Lebanon in addressing the economic, security and humanitarian challenges facing the country. In this regard, they took note of the holding of the Paris Conference for Development and Reform with Businesses meeting of 6 April in support of the Lebanese reforms and investment plans and of the Brussels meeting of 25 April to support host communities and refugees in Lebanon.