UN chief calls on Lebanese leaders to overcome divisions

 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on Lebanese leaders to overcome divisions, describing the situation in the country as “very dramatic.”

“This is the moment for Lebanese political leaders to come together to overcome divisions and this is the moment for the international community to stress their support to the people of Lebanon,” Guterres said after meeting parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Guterres, who arrived in Beirut on Sunday for what was called a “visit of solidarity” during the country’s crippling economic crisis, met various religious leaders and premier Nagib Mikati on Monday.

He also visited Beirut’s port, which was devastated by a massive explosion on Aug. 4, 2020, killing more than 190 people and wounding 6,000 others.

According to a UN report, more than 70 per cent of Lebanon’s 6 million people now live below the poverty line.

Lebanon’s national currency has lost about 95 per cent of its value.

The economic situation has pushed many Lebanese to leave the country.

According to the refugee agency UNHCR, at least 1,570 people tried to cross the Mediterranean to the European Union this year until the end of November. (dpa/NAN)