Political vacuum undermines Lebanon’s ability to tackle many challenges – Security Council

19 March 2015

The Security Council voiced its concern at the 10-month stalemate in the election of a president in Lebanon, saying it undermined the country’s ability to address the security, economic and social challenges it faces.

In a presidential statement, the 15-member body also called on all parties to “act responsibly and put Lebanon’s stability and national interests ahead of partisan politics,” and called on Parliament to convene to elect a president “without further delay.”

There has been a presidential vacuum in Lebanon after the term of Michel Sleiman came to an end on 25 May 2014. UN officials and the Security Council have repeatedly urged the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new leader without delay.

The country has also been dealing with renewed terrorist threats and a growing refugee population resulting from the conflict in neighbouring Syria that currently numbers almost 1.2 million.

“The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the increasing and negative impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon’s stability and the immediate threat to its security,” said the statement, which follows a closed-door briefing to the Council earlier this week by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag.

It also strongly condemned acts of terrorism, including hostage taking by terrorist and violent extremist groups, including the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, and Jabhat al Nusra, on Lebanese territory.

Further, the Council voiced its deep concern following the recent incidents which occurred across the Blue Line separating Lebanon and Israel, and in the area of operations of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

“The Security Council stresses that such violence and the presence of unauthorized weapons in the UNIFIL area of operations violates resolution 1701 and the cessation of hostilities,” the statement said, referring to the resolution that ended the month-long war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah in 2006.

“It underlines the risk that such events could lead to a new conflict that none of the parties or the region can afford.”

 

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