UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, yesterday visited the city of Tripoli in north Lebanon. It was an opportunity for the UN Special Coordinator to get a closer look at the political, security and socio-economic situation in Lebanon’s second largest city and the role it can play in the country’s longer-term peace, stability and development prospects. Following meetings in Tripoli, Mr. Kubis continued his Tripoli-focused consultations in Beirut with Member of Parliament Faisal Karame and Member of Parliament Samir el-Jisr with whom he also discussed work and control functions of the Parliament.
In Tripoli, Special Coordinator Kubis met with the Governor of North Lebanon Ramzi Nohra. He welcomed the orderly conduct of by-elections on Sunday and praised the security and stability that has prevailed in the city and province since the implementation of the security plan in 2015. They also discussed the presence of a large number of Syrian refugees influencing lives and conditions of host communities.
Mr. Kubis also met with the head of the Tripoli Municipality, Mr. Ahmad Amareddine. He listened to concerns about the city’s socio-economic difficulties, including very high levels of poverty and deprivation, unemployment and school drop-out rates and the impact of the presence of large numbers of Syrian refugees. They also discussed the significant potential for development if the city gets additional support from the State and possibly from international partners. “Tripoli is a vibrant city with a rich historic heritage and has made long strides in reinforcing its security and stability during the past few years. But achieving sustainable peace and stability requires urgent efforts to address the city’s socio-economic problems, lack of investment and development.” Mr. Kubis said.
The UN Special Coordinator also underlined the important role played by civil society groups in Tripoli in promoting reconciliation, prevention and peace, in working for decent future for long-neglected people and communities. He visited MARCH, a non-governmental organization that promotes reconciliation and empowerment among youth and former adversaries from different communities in Tripoli. “The work done by MARCH is a great example of how dialogue and empowering young men and women can create opportunities for preventing violence and extremism in favor of longer-term peace and stability. Yet, much more is needed to create social and economic conditions for decent and dignified future for all. This is a responsibility of the central and local authorities and politicians, assisted by their international partners,” Mr. Kubis said.