BEIRUT: The U.N. seeks to work closely with Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s government, particularly regarding the issue of the large number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the implementation of Resolution 1701, Derek Plumbly said Friday.
“The United Nations looks forward to working closely with the government in addressing many of the subjects highlighted in the ministerial statement, including the issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the implementation of resolution 1701,” Plumbly said in a statement following a meeting with Salam.
He praised the “absolute priority” being given by Salam and his colleagues to the security challenges facing Lebanon.
Plumbly said the U.N. has been “deeply disturbed” by the ongoing violence in Tripoli, by the repeated and “totally unacceptable violations” of Lebanon’s sovereignty along Lebanon’s northern and eastern borders with Syria, and by the consequent loss of life.
Syrian forces have launched repeated air raids and artillery strikes against border villages in east and north Lebanon.
The Syrian army shot and killed two shepherds on the outskirts of the Bekaa Valley border town of Anjar Friday.
Plumbly said two of the affected areas – Arsal and Akkar – are ones where the U.N. and its partners are already deeply engaged.
He said a mission was dispatched to the northeastern border town of Arsal Friday to assess the needs as a result of recent events.
Arsal is home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.
The U.N. official paid tribute to the Lebanese Army and the security forces “who have been working tirelessly to safeguard the country in these difficult times.”
Plumbly pledged to follow up on the outcome of the last meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon in Paris in regards to support for Lebanon’s state institutions, the Army, the refugees and the economy.
“These will be shared priorities for the government and the United Nations in the weeks ahead,” he promised.