BEIRUT: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) would like to work more closely with the Lebanese government, said U.N. Resident Coordinator for Lebanon Robert Watkins, following a meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday.
“The prime minister and I discussed ways of improving UNDP’s partnership with the Lebanese government,” Watkins told reporters following the meeting with Mikati at the Grand Serail.
“In that regard, we discussed the recommendations of an evaluation study conducted by UNDP on the UNDP policy advisory and support units that are key to the ministries and the institutions of this government.”
He added: “We have agreed to take practical steps for the implementation of these points, with the central objective of supporting administrative reform and transfer of skills to the Lebanese administration in the shortest time possible.”
The two men also discussed details about the upcoming visit this week of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following the conclusion of the country’s two-year term as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
“The secretary-general is keen to visit Lebanon, which has just concluded its two-year term on the United Nations Security Council, and to show his continued strong interest in and commitment to Lebanon,” Watkins said.
Issues that will be discussed during Ban’s visit to Lebanon beginning Friday include the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and other issues pertaining to Lebanon’s stability.
Following his meeting with Mikati, Watkins also met with Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour where the two discussed details of Ban’s visit and the end of Lebanon’s two-year term on the U.N. Security Council.
“I think it is roundly recognized that Lebanon did an excellent job in fulfilling its functions [during its two years on the Security Council],” Watkins said.
“I expressed the U.N.’s expectation that Lebanon would continue to remain active and engaged as a regular member of the United Nations,” he added.
Watkins and Mansour also spoke of Ban's latest report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 which is expected to be released in February.