Aoun Holds Talks with U.N. Secretary-General
President Michel Aoun held talks Thursday in New York with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the U.N. General Assembly, shortly after Aoun's speech before the world body.
A statement issued by the United Nations Information Center in Beirut said the two men “discussed developments in the region” and that Guterres “thanked Lebanon for its generosity in hosting refugees.”
“The Secretary-General and the President discussed efforts to increase international support for the country,” the Center added.
In his speech before the General Assembly, Aoun stressed that Lebanon will not allow the naturalization of any Syrian or Palestinian refugee on its soil “no matter what that might cost.”
The National News Agency said Guterres lauded Lebanon's cooperation with all U.N. agencies, especially on the issue of refugees.
The U.N. chief also tackled the role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), explaining the deliberations that accompanied the renewal of its mandate in late August, NNA said.
Moreover, Guterres noted that the ongoing coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army is one of the necessary achievements on the path of Lebanon's extension of its sovereignty across its territory, hoping cooperation will be boosted in terms of preserving security and implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, the agency added.
Aoun for his part thanked the U.N. chief for “the support that the world body is offering in all fields.”
The president stressed that the Lebanese government will boost the army's presence in the South alongside UNIFIL's forces, emphasizing that “Lebanon wants peace and to protect its land, sovereignty and independence.”
“It therefore rejects any violation of its territory or Resolution 1701,” Aoun added.
The president also explained the army's achievements against the terrorist Islamic State and al-Nusra Front groups on the eastern border and officially asked Guterres for U.N. support for Lebanon's bid to become “a center for the dialogue of religions and cultures with the aim of enhancing the culture of peace.”
Guterres said the U.N. would support such a request, NNA added.