UN Special Coordinator Briefs the Security Council on the Implementation of Resolution 1701
16 March 2023
- New York, 16 March 2023 -- The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix today briefed the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006). The focus was on the report of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, covering the period of 3 November 2022 to 20 February 2023.
Overviewing the situation in Lebanon, the Special Coordinator echoed the grave concerns of the Secretary-General and of the International Support Group for Lebanon over the lack of progress towards the election of a new President since the last briefing in November and underlined the need for the country’s political leaders to demonstrate flexibility and urgency to elect a president for the sake of the Lebanese people.
“The impact of the presidential vacuum, that is approaching its fifth month, is contributing to the paralysis of state institutions at a time when the country is most in need of urgent and efficient state action and undermining the country’s ability to address its pressing socio-economic, security and humanitarian challenges as citizens face growing hardships,” the Special Coordinator said.
The Special Coordinator highlighted examples of the dire impact of the crisis on people’s lives, including the rapid devaluation of the Lebanese currency and its ripple effect on inflation, purchasing power and poverty rates, the decline in the provision of basic public services including in key sectors such as water, energy, education and health and the growing public frustrations resulting in prolonged strikes, particularly in the public sector.
The Special Coordinator regretted that not enough was being done to adopt and implement reforms required to salvage the Lebanese economy and set the country on a path of recovery. This in turn has delayed the agreement on a financial programme with the IMF that can help stabilize the economy.
Emphasizing the importance of all of Lebanon’s constitutional milestones, the Special Coordinator welcomed the ongoing preparations for municipal elections later this year, while noting that further steps will be necessary from the government and Parliament to ensure their timely conduct. She said the elections will also be an opportunity to strengthen the participation and representation of women.
The Special Coordinator commended the diligent efforts of the Lebanese army and security forces despite their resource constraints and encouraged further international support to the military and security institutions, as trusted partners, so that stability and security is preserved in Lebanon. She also welcomed the cooperation between the army and UNIFIL in south Lebanon, which is important for the successful implementation of Resolution 1701.
Discussions at the Security Council underlined the critical importance of Resolution 1701 to the security and stability of Lebanon, Israel and the region. While outstanding obligations remain for both parties, the Special Coordinator welcomed their commitment to the resolution and the steps taken in coordination with UNIFIL to maintain the calm along the Blue Line.
The Special Coordinator and Security Council members reiterated their condemnation of the killing of a UNIFIL peacekeeper in the area of Al Aqbieh last December and underscored the importance of bringing the perpetrators to justice. The Special Coordinator also underlined the key role of an independent judiciary for Lebanon’s recovery and the need to expedite impartial and thorough judicial processes on numerous unresolved cases in Lebanon, including most tragically the Beirut Port explosion.
The Special Coordinator welcomed the unanimity within the Security Council on Lebanon’s peace, security and stability and the readiness of the international community to offer needed support. “But long-term, sustainable solutions can only be nationally led and depend on Lebanese leaders,” she emphasized.
In conclusion, the Special Coordinator reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to continue standing by Lebanon and its people.
Link to latest Report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres