The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon met today with the country’s Prime Minister-designate and its parliamentary speaker as he continues his efforts to try to help end the political deadlock that has prevented the formation of a government, five months after national elections were held.
Michael Williams held discussions in Beirut with Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate, and with Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the Parliament, according to statements issued by the Special Coordinator’s office.
Mr. Williams said that he and Mr. Berri talked about their mutual concern over the delays in the formation of a government.
“It is difficult to understand why an agreement has not been reached on this so far,” he said in a statement. “We are now at a point where the government should be formed as soon as possible to focus on tackling the many challenges facing the country.
“It remains absolutely critical for Lebanon to have a government, not least to continue with the implementation of resolution 1701,” he added, referring to the Security Council resolution adopted in 2006 that ended that year’s month-long war between Israeli forces and Hizbollah.
The resolution, among other matters, calls for the disbanding of all Lebanese militias, especially Hizbollah, and the full control of all Lebanese territory by its Government.
Mr. Williams said that while he was pleased that a “generally calm atmosphere” had prevailed in southern Lebanon since 2006, “we are also concerned about the frequency of incidents that have taken place recently. Such incidents raise the possibility of an escalation and thus threaten the stability achieved so far.
“Naturally, we are also very, very mindful of the daily violations of Lebanese airspace, of Lebanon’s sovereignty and of resolution 1701 by Israel.”
In his latest report on the implementation of the resolution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also voiced serious concern about the recent incidents, which include the firing of rockets from Lebanon into Israel and Israel’s return of fire.
Mr. Williams, following his meeting with Mr. Hariri, commended the Prime Minister-designate for his policy of “open dialogue” regarding the efforts to form a national government.
“The delay in the process of government formation has put many important issues on hold, not least the urgent social and economic issues that affect the daily lives of the Lebanese people,” Mr. Williams stressed