Caretaker Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab, made a phone call to the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, during which they broached various issues of common interest and UN efforts aimed at helping Lebanon overcome the current crises.
Premier Diab commended the initiatives taken by the Secretary-General to assist Lebanon, namely by co-chairing both Paris conferences in support of Beirut and the Lebanese people, and the urgent appeal he launched to the international community on August 4, 2020 in response to the immediate needs resulting from Beirut port’s blast.
PM Diab briefed UNSG on the coronavirus spread in Lebanon and stressed the need to rehabilitate public and private hospitals due to the depletion of their capacity to receive patients and Covid-19 cases, and the urgent need to equip them with ICUs and necessary medical equipment, including respirators. Diab requestedthe Secretary-General to help provide 200 beds for ICUs, and the United Nations to support Lebanon in the vaccination campaign, as well asthe need to include all residents living on the Lebanese territory.
For his part, the Secretary-General expressed his full understanding of the difficult conditions Lebanon is going through, which were exacerbated by the port’s explosion and the spread of the pandemic. He indicated that he would deliberate with UN officials on the best means to help in this regard, along with the efforts of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator, Mrs. Najat Rochdi.
PM Diab raised the issue of the daily Israeli violations of the Lebanese airspace, which have escalated over the past weeks, constituting a flagrant violation of the Lebanese sovereignty and of Resolution 1701, which Lebanon is committed to. Diab drew the Secretary-General’s attention to the recent increase in these violations. He also stressed that these violations, in addition to provocative and aggressive actions, the latest of which was the shepherd’s abduction on January 12 from inside the Lebanese territory, pose a threat to Lebanon and to international peace and security, which calls for the his urgent intervention to stop them.
The talks reportedly touched as well on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, with Premier Diab affirming Lebanon’s commitment to the Tribunal so that it can carry out its mission.
PM Diab also briefed the Secretary-General on the Lebanese government’s action plan for the return of displaced Syrians to their homeland, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on July 22, 2020, pointing to the great burdens that Lebanon bears as a result of hosting them, especially amidst the current difficult circumstances and despite the aid provided by donors to support host communities. He concluded that the return of displaced Syrians cannot be linked to finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The Secretary-General took note of the plan that he would raise with the High Commissioner for Refugees, since the UNHCR is the authority directly concerned with refugee matters.
Premier Diab discussed with the Secretary-General the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees’ file, drawing his attention to the fact that Lebanon will chair the Agency’s advisory committee for a period of one year starting from July 1, 2021, and looks forward to fully cooperate with him and with the High Commissioner to contribute to finding solutions to the various difficulties experiencedby UNRWA and provide it with the necessary means to perform its duties and deliver services to Palestine refugees without any detriment.
The Secretary-General emphasized that UNRWA’s file is one of UN’s urgent priorities, given the severe financial crisis that the Agency suffers from due to funding gaps and significant shortage of financial resources.
Source: National News Agency