Moving Forward Together
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon
The Issue of Palestine is central to Lebanon and to the United Nations alike. When the Palestinian people sought safety in neighbouring countries, Lebanon was among the earliest recipients of Palestinian refugees. This practical solidarity with the displaced, even as it has been fraught with complexities, continues until this day. With support form the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Lebanon has been able to provide safety and basic human dignity to some of the most vulnerable people.
Despite the historical ties between the Lebanese and Palestinians, relations between the two communities have at times been challenging. I have seen for myself when visiting a Palestine refugee camp how socio-economic marginalization and significant restrictions on employment and other rights limit Palestinian’s opportunities and increase their dependency on essential services provided by UNRWA, including health care and education. From my discussions, I also know that regular security concerns in some Palestine refugee camps have worried Palestinians and Lebanese alike.
The Lebanese and Palestinians share more in common than what divides them. I am hopeful that this inspiring new initiative from the LPDC can strengthen the dialogue between both communities and build a bridge towards greater trust and cooperation. As the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, I am fully committed to support the LPDC and work with all stakeholders to reduce tensions and promote a better understanding.
As UNRWA faces an unprecedented financial crisis, a strong partnership between the United Nations, the Government of Lebanon, the Palestinian refugee population and donors is more critical than ever. Together with the Secretary-General and my colleagues at UNRWA, I will spare no efforts to help mobilize the necessary resources to support Lebanon and Palestine refugees.
Our joint efforts remain vital as a comprehensive, just and sustainable settlement to end the Arab-Israeli conflict has yet to be found. Political efforts continue and I can assure you that the Organization remains committed to a two-state solution whereby an independent, sovereign Palestine lives peacefully along Israel.