BEIRUT: UN Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly and Saudi officials reiterated support for Lebanon as the UN official stressed the importance of international support for the Lebanese Army.
A statement from the office of Plumbly who visited Riyadh Monday said discussions with Saudi officials focused on “the support agenda for Lebanon and the region ahead of the conference on Syrian refugees which is to be held in Kuwait on 15 January, and following the meetings of the International Support Group for Lebanon which was inaugurated in New York in September.”
Lebanon is facing major difficulties hosting over 830,000 refugees who fled violence in neighboring Syria and are spread over various Lebanese cities.
Plumbly had phone-called former Prime Minister Saad Hariri Sunday for talks over the issue of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the efforts exerted by the international organization to help them meet their basic needs.
Plumbly also highlighted the importance of the Lebanese Armed Forces in ensuring security and stability in Lebanon and the calls by the Security Council, the Secretary-General and the International Support Group for international assistance in support of the Lebanese Army.
He warmly welcomed the very generous pledge of assistance from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in that regard recently announced by President Michel Sleiman, the statement said.
Last week, President Sleiman announced that Saudi Arabia had pledged a $3 billion donation to buy French weapons for the Lebanese Army.
During his Riyadh visit, Plumbly met with senior Saudi officials, including the Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
The Saudi government has recently denounced recent bombing in Lebanon and urged Lebanese political rivals to prioritize the nation’s interests over any other interests.
“The Saudi kingdom denounces the two terrorist explosions that took place in Beirut recently and killed many innocent victims,” the Saudi Cabinet said in a statement following its meeting over the weekend. The statement was referring to separate deadly explosions that struck Downtown Beirut killing a former minister and another that targeted the Hezbollah-stronghold of Haret Hreik killing four people and wounding 70.
“It also calls on all Lebanese parties to resort to logic and reason and to put the interests of their nation above other narrow interests, which weaken Lebanon and its abilities and threaten the security and stability of the people.”
The Saudi Cabinet also stressed “the need to extend the authority of the state and its Army on all Lebanese territories to end tampering with the security of Lebanon and the Lebanese.”