Joint statement by the International Support Group for Lebanon (23 September 20)

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1. A ministerial meeting of members of the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, co-chaired by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and HE Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, was held September 23, 2020. Opening statements of the virtual meeting were made by Secretary General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Drian.After the opening statements, HE Dr. Hassan Diab, Acting Prime Minister and President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon, delivered remarks. Interventions were made by HE Mr. Luigi Di Maio, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy; HE Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States; HE Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission; HE Mr. James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa of the United Kingdom; HE Mr. Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany; HE Mr. David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States of America HE Mr. Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative, People’s Republic of China; HE Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation. A presentation was also made by Mr. Axel Van Trotsenburg, Managing Director of World Bank Operations.

2. The participants thanked the Secretary-General of the United Nations and France for convening the meeting and reiterated their condolences to the victims and families of the August 4 explosions in Beirut. They also paid tribute to the resilience of the Lebanese people, the assistance provided by civil society to those in need and all the Lebanese and foreign volunteers who supported the emergency response. They expressed their full solidarity with Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

3. The members of the ISG congratulated the international community for its rapid and immediate response by providing financial and logistical support to Lebanon and the Lebanese people following the explosions of August 4 and welcomed the commitments made at the international conference. level in support of Beirut and the Lebanese people co-chaired by the United Nations and France on August 9, 2020 and subsequent commitments through the United Nations emergency appeal on August 14. The pledged support must be timely, sufficient, compatible with the needs of the Lebanese people and provided with the utmost efficiency and transparency to respond to emergency relief and early recovery activities. ISG members also stressed the importance of close and effective coordination between the United Nations, governments, donors, humanitarian and development actors and Lebanese public institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces, to in light of their specific role in this response. ISG members welcomed the joint EU-UN and World Bank assessments as a basis for donor engagement and called on the international community to rapidly step up its support to Beirut and the Lebanese people in this context. ISG members are looking forward to a follow-up conference in October in Paris, which will be able to take stock of what has been done so far and assess the most effective and transparent way for promote early recovery (activities aimed at restoring public infrastructure, rehabilitating housing and stabilizing the situation of affected families, as well as supporting the health and education sectors affected by the explosion).

4. The members of the ISG urged the Lebanese leadership to unite to support the timely formation of a government capable of responding to the legitimate aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people and determined to address the multiple and acute challenges of Lebanon, including its humanitarian, socio-economic and financial challenges. crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, the reconstruction of Beirut and the restoration of Beirut’s heritage and historic buildings. ISG members took due note of the Lebanese government’s approval of a financial recovery plan, as well as the government’s decision to request an IMF program, and reiterated, on the basis of the implementing the necessary reforms, its continued commitment to support Lebanon.

5. ISG members strongly urged Lebanese political leaders to undertake critical reforms and welcomed the agreement reached earlier this month by all Lebanese political leaders on a comprehensive reform roadmap with a timeline for implementation. implementation in line with their previous commitments, including those made in the context of the CEDRE conference, and which benefit from the support of the ISG and other members of the international community.

The members of the ISG reaffirmed the need for these reforms to meet the challenges of Lebanon and meet the aspirations peacefully expressed by the Lebanese people.

6. Recalling the ISG declaration of December 11, 2019 and the recent declarations of August 30 and September 19, ISG members urged Lebanon to rapidly implement measures to restore economic stability, improve performance public services and the credibility of the financial sector, resume effective talks with the IMF and prioritize key governance measures, including credible regulation of key economic sectors, such as the power sector, and provide support to the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon, particularly through social safety nets. ISG members also urged the government and political leaders to take credible measures to fight corruption and tackle tax evasion, pass a capital control law and other measures that ensure concrete changes and guarantee both transparency and full accountability to the Lebanese people. . ISG members confirmed their willingness to help Lebanon undertake these measures. They looked forward to the ISG meeting with other regional and international leaders, which France intends to convene in Paris in October on the reform agenda, in support of Lebanon.

7. The ISG called on all actors to maintain the peaceful character of the protests, avoiding violence and respecting the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration.

8. ISG members stressed the importance of Lebanon’s continued and unwavering commitment to relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, including 1559 (2004), 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006) and 2433 (2018), 2485 (2019) and 2539. (2020), the Taif Accords (1989), the Baabda Declaration on the Policy of Dissociation (2012) and other relevant international obligations, for the internal stability of the country and that of the region.

9. The members of the ISG reaffirmed their continued strong support for Lebanon and its people, for its stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence.

Note to editors

The International Support Group brought together the United Nations and the governments of China, France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union and the Arab League. It was launched in September 2013 by the UN Secretary-General with former President Michel Sleiman to help mobilize support and assistance for the stability, sovereignty and state institutions of Lebanon and to specifically encourage the assistance to the Lebanese army, to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to host communities and government. public programs and services affected by the Syrian crisis.

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