International Support Group for Lebanon (Paris, March 5, 2014)
1. Participants thanked President Hollande and the Government of France for hosting the International Support Group for Lebanon. They recalled the 10 July 2013 Presidential Statement of the Security Council (S/PRST/2013/9) and the Chairperson’s Summary issued after the 25 September 2013 inaugural meeting of the International Support Group (SG/2198). They stressed the ongoing need for strong, coordinated international support for Lebanon to help it continue to withstand the multiple challenges to its security and stability, and welcomed the progress made in mobilising such support. They recalled that the United Nations’ commitment to stability in Lebanon lies at the heart of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and other relevant resolutions.
2. Participants warmly welcomed the announcement on 15 February 2014 of the formation of a new government in Lebanon and expressed their readiness to work closely with Prime Minister Tamam Salam and his government to promote support for Lebanon. They highlighted the paramount importance of the government being able to address the immediate economic, security and humanitarian challenges facing the country effectively and without delay. Participants underscored the need for all parties in Lebanon to unite to ensure the continuity of state institutions. They emphasised the crucial importance for confidence and stability in Lebanon of the presidential and parliamentary elections being conducted on time on the basis of Lebanon’s constitutional procedures and democratic practice.
3. Participants thanked President Sleiman for his leadership in seeking to uphold Lebanon’s sovereignty, unity and stability and the continuity of state institutions, to promote dialogue and to safeguard Lebanon from the impact of the conflict in Syria. They stressed the importance of the commitment by all Lebanese parties to the Baabda Declaration and Lebanon’s policy of disassociation.
4. Participants strongly condemned the repeated terrorist attacks and bombings in Lebanon and underscored the importance of bringing those responsible to justice. Recognising the increased terrorist threat to Lebanese civilians, participants underlined the need for a comprehensive response to it, including further international support to the Lebanese security services. They reiterated that there should be no impunity in Lebanon, and noted that the trial in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon opened on 16 January 2014. Participants joined the Lebanese people in their rejection of extremism and violence.
5. Participants highlighted the critical role played by the LAF in working to address the growing threats to security in Lebanon and along its borders resulting from the Syrian crisis, and in working with UNIFIL to help maintain calm along the Blue Line. They stressed the need to further strengthen the LAF’s capabilities to help them address these challenges. They welcomed international assistance already being given in line with the LAF’s five-year capabilities-development plan and the recent generous offer of assistance by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Participants noted the launch on 20 February of a coordination mechanism in support of the five-year plan. They looked forward to the conference in support of the LAF the Government of Italy intends to host in Rome which will provide a focused opportunity collectively to promote international assistance.
6. Participants underscored the huge and growing burden the Syrian conflict is placing on Lebanon and the need for greater burden-sharing. They commended Lebanon’s generosity in hosting approximately one million refugees from Syria. They welcomed the pledges made at the 15 January 2014 International Donor Conference in Kuwait and highlighted the need both for delivery of the assistance pledged to be expedited and for further assistance as requested in the Regional Response Plan. Participants encouraged the Government of Lebanon to coordinate closely with UN and other partners to address the critical humanitarian needs of refugees in Lebanon. The UN and its partners stood ready to work closely with government counterparts, including with regard to enhancing Lebanon’s ability to manage and assist arriving refugees and to putting in place contingency measures for their reception. They welcomed continuing efforts to expand resettlement programs for Syrian refugees and encouraged the international community to look for ways to further assist in this regard.
7. Participants reiterated their concern at the severe negative impact of the Syrian conflict on vulnerable communities and key sectors in Lebanon, including health, education, infrastructure and employment. They noted the importance of the Roadmap for Stabilization developed since the initial ISG meeting by the Government of Lebanon in partnership with the World Bank and the United Nations, which sets out priority interventions to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon. They encouraged the Government of Lebanon and partners to move forward expeditiously in implementation of the Roadmap, and to take all steps necessary to facilitate and closely coordinate the provision of available assistance. Participants stressed the value of assistance already provided to Lebanon through long-term partnerships, which had intensified since the start of the Syrian crisis, and noted the support that has already been provided for immediate projects to benefit government programmes and host communities in line with the Roadmap. They encouraged further such assistance both through existing humanitarian and development instruments and through the World Bank-managed Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Lebanon. They expressed thanks to the Governments of Norway, France and Finland, and to the World Bank, for initial contributions made to the Fund, and welcomed the declared intention of the Lebanese authorities to put in place governance arrangements to facilitate expeditious disbursement.
8. Participants welcomed the prospect of future Group meetings with broader participation and anticipated that the Group would meet at differing levels as needed.