UN leader says more aid needed for crisis-hit Lebanon

Abdallah Bouhabib, Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday the international community has not done enough to support Lebanon, grappling with a dire economic crisis and home to over 1 million Syrian refugees. The UN leader urged more support at the start of a three-day visit to the small Mediterranean country.

Guterres arrived on the high profile visit earlier Sunday, and spoke after his meeting with Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun.

At the outset of his visit, Guterres said the visit will focus on supporting the people of the crisis-stricken country. But he pressed the political leadership to overcome their differences to find ways to resolve the crisis.

International donors, including traditional supporters of Lebanon, have extended humanitarian assistance to the country to deal with the crisis, but have declined to offer support to the government before a plan for reform is agreed upon.

Lebanese are facing a deteriorating economic crisis that began in late 2019 and is rooted in years of mismanagement and corruption.