BEIRUT: U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly, in his first visit to Tripoli, praised local authorities for restoring calm after recent clashes in the northern coastal city and toured the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
“I was deeply concerned by the incident that took place on Sunday April 22 in the Abi Samra area and welcome the role of local leaders and the security services in quickly restoring calm,” Plumbly said, according to a statement from his office.
“It is vital that all concerned do everything that they can to sustain stability and security here,” he added.
Four people were wounded Sunday in Tripoli in gunfire during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar Assad. The incident occurred when an argument broke out between some protesters taking part in a weekly procession against Damascus and guards of Sheikh Bilal Shaaban, the head of the pro-Assad Islamic Tawhid Movement, near his house in Al-Shiraa Square in the Abi Samra neighborhood.
According to the statement from his office, Plumbly visited the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp with colleagues from the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) and took stock of reconstruction efforts.
Much of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp was destroyed in fighting between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam militants in 2007. Many of the Palestinian residents of the camp displaced by the fighting have yet to return to their homes.
"UNRWA is working with the Lebanese authorities and international donors to speed up the reconstruction process and ensure a smooth return of the refugees to their homes as soon as possible," Plumbly said.
Following his tour of the refugee camp, Plumbly held talks with Mufti of Tripoli and the North Malek Shaar, whom he said gave him "some important insights into the history of the city and present challenges it faces."
Plumbly said he would also be meeting political figures in order "to discuss the political and security situation in Tripoli and the impact that broader local and regional developments may have on the city."