BEIRUT: The United Nations is not aware of plans to destroy any of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in Lebanon, the organization’s representative to Lebanon said Tuesday.
“I have seen the media reports in that regard. The UN is not aware of any such plans to destroy Syrian Chemical Weapons in Lebanon,” U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly told reporters at the Grand Serail in Beirut.
“The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has recently submitted its destruction plan to the Director General of OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] in the Hague, the Netherlands, in line with the recent EC decision of the Organization,” he added.
His comments come a day after Lebanon’s caretaker Environment Minister Nazem Khoury dismissed media reports that Syria’s chemical weapons would be buried in Lebanon.
Khoury also said his ministry would strongly oppose such a policy.
Plumbly Tuesday also praised security and political efforts to restore stability in the northern city of Tripoli, where supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad have fought one another in deadly clashes since Oct. 21.
“We discussed the situation in the country and in particular in Tripoli,” Plumbly said following talks with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
“I expressed my deep concern over the recurrence of violence in Tripoli and welcomed the efforts of the army and security forces, in parallel with political efforts and the efforts of the caretaker Prime Minister, to restore calm across the city,” he added.
“Now, more than ever, and particularly in light of the developments in neighboring Syria, it is important for all parties in Lebanon to exercise restraint and to act in Lebanon’s interests,” Plumbly stressed.
He reiterated the U.N.’s support for the calls voiced by President Michel Sleiman and other Lebanese officials for respecting Lebanon’s state institutions as well as safeguarding the country from the impact of the Syria crisis through the “Baabda Declaration,” the formation of an effective government and the resumption of National Dialogue.
The U.N. official said he also discussed with Mikati the follow-up to the International Support Group meeting for Lebanon that was held in New York Sept. 25, in addition to the next steps to support the government and the Lebanese Army and to assist Lebanon in meeting the needs of Syrian refugees on its territories and the Lebanese host communities.