U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis on Monday held talks with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and hailed what he called the “very strong performance” of Lebanon and the premier at the Brussels conference on refugees.
“I am very grateful that His Excellency the Prime Minister is giving me his time frequently and regularly. This is very important as well due to my forthcoming meeting with the Security Council of the United Nations next week in New York,” Kubis said after the talks.
“I wanted to check some messages and the most important message that I received from His Excellency the Prime Minister but also I confirm on my side is how to support the Government, how to support His Excellency, other ministries and of course political forces in making sure that the reform program of the Government proceeds forward, that there is no disruption, no diversion from the objectives of reform,” Kubis added.
Noting that one of the most important steps is to make sure that the budget of the country is adopted as soon as possible, the U.N. official urged a “reformed” budget that would address “important issues” such as the “gradual reduction of fiscal deficit.”
“And here I pledged the support of the international community. I will discuss before my departure with the critical international partners of the country how to provide more support for the reform program,” he added.
Turning to the issue of the Brussels conference, on which there has been controversy in Lebanon, Kubis said he “acknowledged the very strong performance of the country and His Excellency at the Brussels III conference with messages that confirm an urgent need to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to the international humanitarian norms but as soon as possible under these norms and full respect of these norms, to treat this as a humanitarian issue.”
“And here again expectation that the U.N. and the humanitarian community will continue in facilitating these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon. Presence of refugees is a heavy burden and there is a need to support also communities that are temporarily still hosting them,” the U.N. official acknowledged.
Kubis and Hariri also discussed “all the measures that are important to keep calm” in south Lebanon.
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