After years of vacuum, a Lebanese president will take part in the United Nations General Assembly held in New York later this week.
President Michel Aoun traveled to New York on Sunday to attend the Assembly where he will highlight Lebanon as a country of coexistence in a region that is being torn apart by ethnic and sectarian division.
This marks the first time in three years that a Lebanese president takes part in the annual meeting.
Aoun will demand that Lebanon act as an international center for the dialogue of civilizations and religions. He will also stress the need for cooperation with international organizations in regards to aiding Syrian refugees. These organizations do not coordinate with the Lebanese government, but they directly provide their aid to the displaced.
In addition, Aoun will highlight the ongoing Israeli violations of UN resolution 1701.
On Lebanon as an international center for the dialogue of civilizations and religions, Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Our experience and message allows us to carry out this dialogue seeing as we are a successful example of coexistence between religions.”
This initiative stems from the war against terrorism, “which is a global one against an enemy that creates tensions between sects and poses a threat to societies,” explained the MP.
“We can defeat terrorism and extremism if efforts are united to that end,” he stressed.
Prior to his departure to the United States, President Aoun called on the Lebanese people to “remain vigilant and avoid falling for or spreading rumors.”
“Such ploys are part of a calculated attempt to steer attention away from the achievements that have been made to build the state,” he said.
He made his remarks in wake of security warnings that were made by various embassies in Lebanon over the weekend that warned of possible security unrest in the country. This consequently created a sense of tension and apprehension among the people.
The president is scheduled to meet in New York with UN chief Antonio Guterres, as well as a number of heads of state attending the General Assembly. The two leaders had met for the first time on the sidelines of the Arab League summit that was held in Jordan in March.