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UN envoy renews to PM Hariri international commitment to Lebanon

United Nations Ambassador to Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, visited on Monday Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to whom she confirmed the commitment of the international community to the country and to the success of the government's state policy.

Following the meeting, Kaag gave the following statement:

"I had the honor, together with colleagues from the UN family, and together with my Deputy, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini to meet with HE Prime Minister Saad Hariri and members of his team. It was an early opportunity for us to reiterate and underline the strong commitment of the entire UN family to Lebanon, its institutions and of course to ensure the success of the plans the government has laid out both in the declaration of the government but also the plans that are being developed.

We used the opportunity to have a very frank and open discussion as always on the areas of cooperation and support for Lebanon: peace and security, development, stabilization and human rights. As you know, the United Nations family is well represented in country. We have large numbers of staff, we have a wide range of programmes and this has now been captured in an integrated way of working and planning, through the UN Strategic Framework, which is more efficient and effective to help the government achieve its goals.

We discussed a number of priorities this year, including the timely conduct of parliamentary elections. We certainly also hope for a relevant quota of women to be represented. We looked at an agenda for the prevention of violent extremism, knowing Lebanon is living and breathing in a very volatile region - and support for the Lebanese Armed Forces as well as the broader security apparatus.

We also discussed with the Prime Minister how we can best support the strengthening and the building of capacity of some of the new ministries that have recently been established and this with a view to ensure success. This includes the Ministry of Refugees, the Ministry for Women and also of course the Ministry that combats corruption. There is an ongoing, unfinished business that we will continue to work for, which is the progress towards implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, with a broader view to continue to shield Lebanon from all the threats, to preserve Lebanon's territorial integrity and to enhance its security.

Lebanon remains a regional asset. It is a model of tolerance and coexistence at times of threat and uncertainty in the region. We must do more as United Nations family to help Lebanon's Government and its people to counter these threats. This will benefit not only Lebanon but also the region.

Last and not least, we discussed the impact of the Syria crisis on Lebanon socio-economically, politically and of course we discussed ways in which we can assist vulnerable Lebanese communities, and citizens alongside continued provision of support for the Syrian refugees as well as the Palestine refugees through UNRWA.

It has been a very exciting discussion with the Prime Minister. It is the first of many. He is very clear that he means business and he wants to achieve results and we are precisely on message and very much share that vision and we are keen to achieve lasting results for Lebanon."

Source: National News Agency