Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati met with UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Aroldo Lázaro on Monday to discuss the security situation in southern Lebanon.

The discussion also tackled the preparations for the periodic report to the UN Security Council on the implementation of Resolution 1701, as well as the coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese army.

Moreover, Mikati met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, who expressed his commitment to maintaining UNRWA’s operations in Lebanon and the region despite financial challenges.

They also discussed the assaults on UNRWA in Gaza and the pressure on the agency in Lebanon, including the recent blockage of access to UNRWA offices for over two months, which was temporarily lifted last Friday.

Lazzarini emphasized the necessity for UN staff to access their offices to ensure the provision of essential services, especially in the challenging conditions of the camps, where poverty rates are high and educational disruptions have occurred.

He warned that attacks on UNRWA aim to undermine the rights of Palestinian refugees and affect the agency’s ability to provide aid effectively, hoping to address these issues during his two-day visit and mobilize further support for refugees in Lebanon.

The UNIFIL Head of Mission also explained the dire situation in Rafah and the lack of communication with colleagues on the ground.

They also addressed UNRWA’s financial difficulties, exacerbated since January due to allegations against 12 employees involved in the October 7 events, leading 16 donor countries to freeze their contributions.

Lazzarini mentioned that UNRWA took immediate actions, including suspending the implicated employees and requesting a review by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, which found that UNRWA’s operational systems are robust.

The meeting was held in the presence of UNRWA’s representative in Lebanon Dorothee Klaus and the head of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Basil Hassan.