Expressing deep concern over the two-year-long vacancy in the presidency of Lebanon, the United Nations Security Council today urged Lebanese leaders to urgently convene a parliamentary session and called on all parties to negotiate a compromise agreement in order to end the country’s political and institutional crisis.
“The Security Council stresses that the election of a President, the formation of a unity government and the election of a parliament by May 2017 are critical for Lebanon’s stability and resilience to withstand regional challenges,” the 15-nation body said in a Presidential Statement, which it adopted this morning.
Underlining that the prolonged presidential vacancy has led to blockages in the Council of Ministers and rendered the Parliament incapable of passing critical legislation, the Council further stressed that the vacancy and the resulting “political paralysis seriously impair” Lebanon’s ability to address the growing security, economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing the country.
“The Security Council urges Lebanese leaders to adhere to Lebanon’s Constitution and National Pact and calls on all parties to act responsibly, put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics and show the necessary flexibility and sense of urgency to apply mechanisms provided for by the Lebanese Constitution with regard to the election,” the statement said.
Reaffirming its call on all Lebanese leaders to act with “leadership and flexibility” to urgently convene a parliamentary session and proceed to the election of a President, the Council also called on all Lebanese parties, including in the Parliament, to apply mechanisms provided for by the Lebanese Constitution with regard to the presidential election.
Council members also expressed deep concern about the inability of the Lebanese Government to take key decisions and called on the country’s political leadership to stand together in the national interest despite their political differences.
While commending the Lebanese Government for the timely holding of local elections, the Council further encouraged the Lebanese authorities to move ahead within the set calendar for the next legislative elections.
By the text, the Council also strongly condemned acts of terrorism on Lebanese territory, reiterating a call for the continuation of international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces through additional and expedited assistance in areas where the Lebanese Armed Forces are most critically in need of support, including counterterrorism and border protection.
The Security Council also underscored its previous calls on all Lebanese parties to recommit to the country’s policy of dissociation and to cease any involvement in the Syrian crisis, and encouraged the international community to continue supporting Lebanon’s political and economic stability, including through the continued provision of assistance.
In that regard, the Council said it is “gravely concerned” by the impact of hosting more than one million Syrian refugees registered with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon, and underscored that support to Lebanon’s efforts to manage the impact of the influx of refugees is crucial to preserving its stability and security.
“The Council acknowledges the extraordinary challenges Lebanon and the Lebanese people continue to face in this regard and Lebanon’s efforts to host, assist and protect those refugees and the importance of upholding human rights and humanitarian principles,” the statement said.
In addition, the Council expressed its appreciation for the International Support Group for Lebanon, and urged the Group to continue its work to seek opportunities to help address rising challenges to Lebanon’s security and stability.