U.N. Special Coordinator Jan Kubis Visits Arsal and Baalbek
U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis on Thursday visited the areas of Arsal and Baalbek in the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate in north-eastern Lebanon.
In Baalbek, the Special Coordinator met with Governor Bashir Khodr and separately with the head of the Municipality of Baalbek, Hassan Lakkis, and the head of the Union of Municipalities of Baalbek, Nasri Othman.
“We had candid discussions about the challenges facing this important and strategic area of Lebanon. We agreed that reinforcing state authority, stability and security of Baalbek required additional efforts, including through increased state attention and intervention as well as support of the international community,” Kubis said.
In Arsal, Kubis met with the Head of Municipality, Bassel al-Hujeiri.
Hujeiri briefed the Special Coordinator on some of the main socio-economic, environmental and humanitarian challenges facing the border town, including unemployment, waste management, limited state support and access to agricultural land.
“Kubis welcomed the restored security and stability, including along the border with Syria, following the successful counter-terrorism operations led by the Lebanese army against militants almost two years ago,” his office said in a statement.
The U.N. official also visited a storm water drainage canal project that was implemented by UNDP with funding from donor countries and heard from local beneficiaries about the positive impact that the project had on their livelihoods. He also discussed with UNDP and local officials the support provided for the development of the area.
Throughout the day, Kubis discussed the presence of Syrian refugees in the area, the needs and concerns of the refugees and host communities as well as efforts to maintain social stability. Accompanied by representatives from UNHCR, Kubis also visited a Syrian refugee tented site in Arsal and met with refugees.
Arsal is hosting around 37,000 registered refugees.