U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived from Paris Sunday in Beirut on an official visit that will last until Wednesday.
At the airport , he was welcomed by Lebanon Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, the permanent Lebanese envoy to the U.N. Amal Mudallali and the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka.
The Secretary-General will be meeting with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqkati, as well as a number of religious leaders and civil society representatives.
He will also pay tribute to the victims of the Beirut Port blast and will also undertake field visits to interact with people impacted by the numerous crises the country has been facing.
The Secretary-General’s visit takes place at a time of crisis for Lebanon, which continues to reel from the impact of numerous challenges, including political upheaval, a crippled economy, and the devastating August 2020 explosion at the port in the capital, Beirut.
Mr. Guterres recalled that more than 200 people from over a dozen countries were killed in the blast, with two children of UN staff members among the victims.
“The blast injured some seven thousand people, leaving many with permanent disabilities. It destroyed thousands of homes. I know the Lebanese people want answers, and I hear your demands for truth and justice,” he said.
“Your suffering is made worse by the cumulative social, economic and political crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the toll.”
Next week I will be traveling to Lebanon with one simple message: the @UN stands with you.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 17, 2021
I look forward to engaging with people from all backgrounds & communities to discuss how we can best help to overcome the crisis and promote peace, justice & human rights. pic.twitter.com/Plkr4CmG3J
The entire “UN family” is focused on supporting Lebanon and its people, said the Secretary-General, according to the UN media advisory.
Mr. Guterres will meet with different leaders and representatives “to discuss how we can best support you to overcome the crisis and promote peace, stability, justice, development and human rights.”
He also hopes to have the chance to talk with, and listen to, people from all backgrounds and communities.