President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday, before the U.N. General Assembly in New York, that Lebanon was being buffeted by regional crises and called on the United Nations to show global leadership by taking action to resolve conflicts in the Middle East.
President Michel Aoun pointed out that although Lebanon has risen from consecutive internal crises, the consequences of neighboring countries “still weigh heavily upon us.”
Arguing strongly in favor of reforming the UN Security Council, he said that the 15-member body has “failed to adopt fair, and sometimes defining resolutions” leading to the suffering at “the very heart of our region.”
As one example, he drew attention to resolution 425 (1978) in which the Council called on Israel to withdraw forces from its territories, saying that 22 years later, due to Lebanese resistance, it was finally implemented.
“There must be a reform project that sets out the enlargement of the Security Council, the increase of the number of Member States and the adoption of a more transparent, more democratic and more balanced system,” he underscored.
“It is of the paramount importance for the General Assembly to express better the effective orientation of the international community,” he added.
Holding up before the Assembly a map provided by the UN refugee agency, he said that there are waves of displaced people “fleeing the hell of war” in Syria pouring into Lebanon, and that while his country has tried to the greatest extent possible to ensure them a dignified and descent life.
Nevertheless, he noted that crime rates have jumped by 30 per cent, unemployment has dropped by 21 per cent and the density of the population has increased from 400 to 600 people per square kilometer, “making it impossible for us to keep shouldering this burden, especially that most of the Syrian territories have become safe.”
“I reiterate the stance of my country which seeks to consolidate the right of dignified, safe and sustainable return of the displaced to their land, rejecting absolutely any project of settlement, whether for the displaced or the refugee,” he asserted.
He cited the Council and Assembly’s vote against the proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, however, he said, “despite the results of the two votes, which reflected the will of the international community, some embassies were transferred to it” undermining “the endeavors of peace and the two-state project.”
Observing that the world today suffers from extremism and fanaticism, Lebanon’s Head of State highlighted a pressing need for dialogue between religions, cultures and races, and for building international cultural institutions to spread a dialogue of peace.