Press Statement of Special Coordinator Kubis After Briefing the Security Council on Res 1701
I was very glad that for the second time I was able to complement with some updates the report of the Secretary-General on Lebanon. As you are aware, there are two briefings, one very much focused on UNIFIL and that was delivered by Under-Secretary-General (Jean-Pierre) Lacroix and I would refrain from raising issues related to UNIFIL. The only thing is that in the wake of the discussion of the Security Council on UNIFIL, I shared a very strong support for UNIFIL by both the Lebanese authorities and also by what I heard in Israel regardless of the fact that there are some desiderata as well and some questions but there is a strong support and I felt that also, members of the Security Council very much appreciate the work of UNIFIL and such commonality that I detected in their remarks concerning UNIFIL. So, that is the only thing I would like to add on the UNIFIL file.
I started my briefing with some positive news, and I believe it is important to raise them. I informed that last Friday the Parliament in Lebanon approved the 2019 budget. It is true to say that it is July 2019 but still it is better to have this important document, that basically is perhaps the most important law of the country in managing the economy and contributing to the stability of the country. So that was good news and it was appreciated even more. There were messages on how important it would be for the Government to do what they immediately said starting with the Prime Minister that they will move towards timely preparations and adoption of 2020 budget. There was a discussion about the CEDRE conference and the need to implement the CEDRE conference because there were member states that definitely noticed not always positive developments as regards the economy of the country, so they took very positively these recent signals, the adoption of the budget.
There was also from our perspective an important point that members of the National Human Rights Commission and members of the Committee on the Prevention of Torture were sworn by His Excellency the president last week. These two bodies are important and in their areas of responsibility of course they work on Human Rights. Protecting of rights of citizens of Lebanon is also one of our agendas and I was glad to confirm that the draft National Action Plan on 1325 women, peace and security is now to be discussed by the government and we hope that the government will now take the decision and we pledged our, not only UNSCOL, but the UN support for the implementation of this future National Action Plan.
Of course, there were many questions, as I said many of them related to 1701. One of the most prominent questions was maintenance of weapons by different armed groups, first of all Hizbullah and it was mentioned in many of the statements that this is unacceptable. Then a number of references to the dissociation policy and the need to fully respect and follow the tenants of the dissociation policy. So, all in all it was a rich debate.
I also briefed about my regional activities, my visits and planned visits and that was also appreciated as a part of my mandate but also a contribution to general trends of stability.
There was a very substantive discussion on the Syrian refugees but also the recent developments around Palestinian refugees. Again, not only huge appreciation for the Government and people of Lebanon for providing this long-term support for the Syrian refugees but also appreciation of the burden and the need to look at how to find expeditiously good conditions for safe, dignified and voluntary return of Syrian refugees. But it was also mentioned that this topic would require a next round of discussions as well.
There were many other topics, many other issues, but as the bottom line I believe that I detected strong common ground and unity of the Security Council in supporting both UNSCOL and UNIFIL and that is something very encouraging.
Thank you very much.