BEIRUT: UNCHR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie held talks Monday with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail and is set later to meet with President Michel Sleiman.
“The generosity and solidarity shown by Lebanon and Lebanese to its neighbor serves as an example to the world for which we should all be grateful. We all need to help them bear this burden,” Jolie said after meeting Salam.
Jolie, 38, is on a three-day visit to Lebanon to highlight the plight of Syrian children, and to thank the Lebanese people for assisting refugees as the conflict enters its fourth year, a statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.
The world-famous actress and mother of six welcomed the adoption of U.N. Security Council 2139 on Humanitarian Assistance to Syria, which she described as “a long overdue step in the right direction for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women and children trapped in hard to reach areas across Syria.”
Jolie, who was previously a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, also emphasized the need for the resolution to be more than just a paper declaration.
“It must be implemented - and that will take political will and courage. The unity that the Council has shown must not be a one-off, but the start of a new phase in ending the conflict,” she said.
Earlier in her trip, which began over the weekend, Jolie met with orphaned Syrian children who are living in the Bekaa Valley. There are currently around 3,500 unaccompanied children, or children who have been separated from their families, known to be living in Lebanon.
“Meeting these children was a heart-rending experience. They have lost their families and their childhood has been hijacked by war. They are so young, yet they are bearing the burdens of their reality as if they are adults,” Jolie said.
The star of films such as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" stressed throughout her visit the vital contribution being made by Lebanon.
With the number of registered refugees nearing the 1 million mark, Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history. It is also hosting more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world.
This is Jolie’s third visit to Lebanon on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency. Her last visit was in September 2012.