Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' at continuing violence in Lebanon

Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' at continuing violence in Lebanon

The United Nations Secretary-General has expressed his deep concern at the continuing violence in Lebanon and has called on all parties to exercise restraint.

Lebanon's capital Beirut has been rocked by clashes between pro- and anti-government militias for the past three days. The country's parliamentary system is paralysed and the position of President has remained unfilled since November.

“Everything should be done at this time to keep the situation from deteriorating. The parties should address their political differences through peaceful means and dialogue,” UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.

She added that Mr. Ban is aware of the continuing mediation role of the Secretary-General of the Arab League and offered his full support.

In a statement to the press read out yesterday by Ambassador John Sawers of the United Kingdom, which holds the Security Council's rotating presidency for May, the 15-member body stressed the need to uphold the stability and sovereignty of Lebanon, urged all sides to exercise calm and restraint, and called for the immediate re-opening of all roads.

This followed a briefing to the Council by UN Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, who said that Lebanon is facing its worst crisis since the country's civil war. He said that all militias in the country had to be disarmed and that political dialogue among the Lebanese parties was the only way to resolve outstanding issues.