NEW YORK, Dec 20 (KUNA) - Welcoming the return of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Lebanon and his decision to continue his term, the United Nations Security Council highlighted the need to protect the country from crisis that are destabilizing the Middle East.
In a statement, the 15-member council called on all regional States and organizations "to work for the political, social, economic and financial stability and security of Lebanon."
It also called upon all Lebanese parties "to implement a tangible policy of disassociation from any external conflicts, as an important priority."
The members of council also reaffirmed their support for ongoing efforts of Lebanese authorities to restore normal functioning of institutions and to prepare for the holding of legislative elections by May 2018.
They also urged the Lebanese government to speed up its reform programmes to ensure political and economic stability built on a functional, transparent and democratic State.
Further, in the statement, the council commended the efforts of the people and authorities in Lebanon to host Syrian refugees and encouraged the international community to continue and increase its support to the country, including for Lebanese host communities and refugees.
It noted that any returns of refugees, when conditions allow, must be in full compliance with international law.
It urged the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) to continue its work, in coordination with the office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), to seek opportunities to help address the challenges to Lebanon's security and stability. (end)