MOHAMMAD NAJIB AZMI MIKATI, President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon, said this year marks the eightieth anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, and the country has always been striving to achieve peace and prosperity. Lebanon was one of the founders of the United Nations and had an important part in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition to periods of stability, growth, prosperity and peacebuilding, the country has also lived through periods of economic, financial and humanitarian crises, he observed. Lebanon is now facing many overlapping crises amid a weakened international system and regional tensions that weigh heavily on the Lebanese people. The country faces a brain drain as many women and men lose hope in the country’s future.
A primary challenge is filling the presidential vacancy, along with reforms needed to achieve an economic recovery, ease the financial crisis and create institutional and political stability. He said he hoped the Lebanese Parliament will elect a president around which the Lebanese people can rally. This would help Lebanon resume its role in the international community. Turning to the Syrian crisis, he said Lebanon continues to bear the burden of successive waves of refugees. The international community’s response remains inadequate and falls short of a sustainable solution, he said, calling for all stakeholders to develop a road map to solve the Syrian refugee crisis. Lebanon, he added, wants to deepen its cooperation with international organizations to exchange information on the Syrian crisis.
Another challenge is Israel’s continued occupation of southern Lebanon, daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty and its violation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to all relevant Council resolutions. He thanked the contribution of peacekeepers and all participating countries of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), whose mandate was renewed by the Council at the end of August. He also welcomed the exploration of oil and gas in regional waters and noted the instances of stability, development and growth in the region.
The Palestinian people continue to suffer under Israeli occupation, he said, and call for a just solution that includes the two-State solution, as outlined in relevant Council resolutions. He called for the international community to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and reminded them of their humanitarian and moral responsibility towards Palestine refugees. Increased coordination and cooperation among Member States is necessary as the world faces cross-border challenges such as security, food security, cybersecurity, illegal migration, extremism and terrorism, and viral pandemics. These challenges can only be confronted with concerted efforts between Governments, international organizations and others, he stressed.
Overlapping crises and regional tensions amid a weakened international system have led to economic, political, and institutional insecurity in Lebanon, the President of the Council of Ministers told the UN General Assembly Wednesday evening.
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