Next week I will be traveling to Lebanon with one simple message: the @UN stands with you.
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
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 17, 2021
‘One simple message’
“I am coming to Lebanon with one simple message: the United Nations stands with the people of Lebanon,” he said.
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.”
UN supports Lebanon
The entire “UN family” is focused on supporting Lebanon and its people, said the Secretary-General, who is due to arrive on Sunday afternoon, through to Wednesday, 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.
During the daily UN press briefing in New York, Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists that Mr. Guterres will meet with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as a number of religious leaders and civil society members.
Put people first
The Secretary-General stressed that lasting solutions can only come from inside Lebanon.
“It is essential for leaders to put the people first, and implement the reforms needed to set Lebanon back on track, including efforts to promote accountability and transparency, and root out corruption,” he said.