Beirut, Lebanon

25 March 2016

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai

The Secretary-General met today in Beirut with His Beatitude the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and Head of the Maronite Church, Bechara Boutros Rai.

The Secretary-General stressed the United Nations’ and the international community’s continued strong commitment to Lebanon. He expressed concern that the protracted absence of a President is harmful to Lebanon’s stability and undermines Lebanon’s ability to face the many challenges before it. He called on the political leadership to make a decisive concerted effort to overcome the deadlock and urgently fill the Presidential vacancy, consistent with the repeated calls of the Security Council and the International Support Group.

The Secretary-General stressed that the President of Lebanon is a symbol of unity for the people of Lebanon and a beacon of pluralism for the region. The Secretary-General welcomed the Patriarch’s efforts in support of Christian reconciliation. The Secretary-General also reiterated the need to shield Lebanon from regional tensions, including by disassociating it from the conflict in Syria in keeping with the Baabda Declaration (2012). The Secretary-General extended his best wishes for the Easter holiday.