In a meeting with Lebanon’s President Michel Sleiman, a senior United Nations official and representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council today expressed their support for the Middle Eastern nation and its stability in the wake of the deadly bombing which struck central Beirut on Friday.
“In their statement, Council members underlined their determination that the perpetrators and sponsors of this terrorist act should be brought to justice, and their unequivocal condemnation of any attempt to destabilise Lebanon through political assassination and expressed their determination to support the Government of Lebanon to put an end once and for all to impunity in Lebanon,” according to a news statement issued by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.
He added, “We take this opportunity to repeat that message and to call on all parties in Lebanon to preserve national unity in the face of such attempts.”
The meeting between the Lebanese leader and Mr. Plumbly and the ambassadors of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States was held at the request of the UN and foreign representatives to underline their solidarity with Lebanon at “this difficult time.”
Friday’s attack occurred in the capital city’s mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya and, according to media reports, killed at least eight people while injuring dozens others. Among the dead was General Wissam al-Hassan, a senior commander in the Lebanese Internal Security Forces.
The incident comes amidst fears that the conflict in neighbouring Syria, where more than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since an uprising against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began last year, could spill over into Lebanon and exacerbate the delicate sectarian balance already existing in the country.
In their meeting with President Sleiman, the ambassadors and the UN official also underlined their “support for his leadership and the efforts he is currently undertaking in consultation with all Lebanese parties,” Mr. Plumbly noted in the statement.
“It is for the Lebanese parties to agree the way forward. It is vital that this should be done through a peaceful political process, that continuity of institutions and Government action is maintained in order to ensure stability, security and justice in Lebanon,” he said. “We will stand by Lebanon through this difficult period.”
Mr. Plumby and the ambassadors also recalled the statement issued by the Security Council on the day of the attack condemning the “heinous acts of terrorism” and extended their condolences to President Sleiman and the people of Lebanon.
Over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati, as well as President Sleiman, to express his outrage over the bombing, as well as to express solidarity with the country's people. He also commended how the matter how been dealt with by its leadership.
On Friday, the UN chief had condemned the bomb explosion, and urged all political actors in the Middle Eastern country to maintain their commitment to Lebanese unity. The members of the Security Council issued a press statement of a similar nature.
Separately, Mr. Plumbly, along with representatives of the Lebanese Minister of Health and the UN World Health Organization (WHO), today visited a hospital in Ashrafieh and thanked the director and staff tefor their response to Friday’s bombing, in addition to meeting one of the Lebanese civilians injured in the explosion.