NNA - Acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel visited President Michel Aoun at Baabda palace on Monday, for talks over the looming Rome conference, and the government's preparations for the legislative polls and the 2018 state budget.
"I just had a really useful and constructive meeting with His Excellency the President of the Republic ahead of this week's very important conference in Rome on support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Lebanese security institutions. I informed the president that the UN delegation will be headed by His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guterres. I also congratulated the Lebanese government for its very steady and very thorough preparations for the conference. It is a very important conference -- as we know it is the first of three conferences that will take place this spring in support of Lebanon and the first in support of the security institutions. This is an opportunity for Lebanon, and the Lebanese government, to state its desire to see the security institutions extend state authority throughout the country. This is something we also assume the international community will strongly endorse," Kardel told reporters following the meeting.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Lebanese government for its preparations ahead of the May 6 elections. Preparations are very well underway. It is really encouraging to see elections on 6 May for this very important institution that needs to have its mandate renewed. It is also really encouraging to see an historical number of women candidates for the elections. Now it is up to the voters, obviously, to make their choices, but it is encouraging to see this process and this progress towards more women members of Parliament," she added.
"I am also very encouraged to see that preparations for the budget are underway. The preparations are really important for Lebanon first and foremost, but also for preparations in advance of the next conferences, for the Rome conference, but certainly also for the Cedre conference in Paris where more economic support for Lebanon is expected and where reform steps that Lebanon is about to take are really important. The budget is a part of that," she concluded.