Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is in Rome today to take part in the ministerial conference in support of UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) as well as the Rome II conference in support of the Lebanese security forces.
1. UNRWA ministerial conference
Jean-Yves Le Drian will reaffirm France’s unwavering support for UNRWA and will announce financial support measures. He will underscore the importance of the reforms carried out by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, whom he received in Paris on March 7 and will call on the entire international community to mobilize its efforts to enable UNRWA to continue to fulfill its mission to support Palestinian refugees.
Mr. Le Drian will also highlight the need to achieve a definitive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution, which also requires seeking a just and lasting solution to the refugee issue. He will reaffirm France’s determination to play its full role in the efforts needed to relaunch the peace process.
This conference, organized on the initiative of Sweden, Egypt and Jordan, is aimed at reaffirming the international community’s support for UNRWA, which provides essential aid to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees. It should, in particular, provide solutions to the financial difficulties facing UNWRA in order to ensure that its programs can continue.
2. Rome II Conference
The meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon on December 8, 2017, reaffirmed the international community’s unanimous commitment to the country’s stability and sovereignty. Three ministerial conferences in support of the Lebanese state and its institutions were announced for 2018 during this meeting.
The first of these conferences is taking place today in Rome. This conference, organized by Italy, will provide the international community with the opportunity to strengthen its support for the Lebanese army and the country’s Internal Security Forces, based on the needs that they identify. The strengthening of these institutions, which form the pillars of the Lebanese state, is a major security challenge for Lebanon, whose stability is essential to the Middle East, as well as Europe.
During this conference, Jean-Yves Le Drian will announce a French contribution commensurate with this challenge and our long-standing and close cooperation with Lebanon. France is one of the main partners of the Lebanese army and the Internal Security Forces, notably in the fight against terrorism. It is also committed to the country’s security within the framework of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to which it is one of the main contributors, providing 664 French troops. Within UNIFIL, France lends support to the Lebanese army in its efforts to strengthen its presence in the south of the country, which is necessary in order to allow the Lebanese government to exercise its sovereignty throughout the Lebanese territory.
France is also determined to contribute to Lebanon’s stability by supporting its economic development. That is why on April 6, it will host the CEDRE Conference in Paris to rally international support for Lebanon through reforms, and working with businesses. And finally, it will take part in the Brussels II Humanitarian Conference, which will end the three-conference cycle of support for Lebanon in the year 2018.