Lebanon: Prime Minister-designate briefs UN envoy on efforts to form new government

22 February 2011

The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon met today with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati, who briefed him on his continuing efforts concerning the formation of a new government.

Michael Williams said he reiterated to Mr. Miqati the hope that whatever government he forms will meet the aspirations of all Lebanese.

“As events in the Arab world have shown, dialogue among all sides in the country is the only way to resolve differences but also to move forward with any country’s political, social and economic needs,” Mr. Williams said in a statement following his meeting.

Lebanon’s previous government, led by Saad Hariri, collapsed in January after 11 Hizbollah and allied ministers resigned, reportedly over the Government’s refusal to cease cooperation with the UN-backed special tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 murders of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. The court was reportedly about to indict Hizbollah members for the murders.

At the end of January, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman asked Mr. Mikati, who has Hizbollah support according to media reports, to form the new Government.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that any new Government in Lebanon should continue to cooperate with the tribunal.

During their meeting, Mr. Williams also briefed Mr. Mikati on Security Council resolution 1701, which ended a month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006. It also calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

“I reiterated the expectation of the United Nations that the Lebanese Government will continue to abide by the requirements of 1701 and all of Lebanon’s international obligations,” said Mr. Williams, who also met today with Member of Parliament Fuad Siniora to discuss the latest developments in Lebanon and the region.


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Lebanon: Ban calls on new government to cooperate with Hariri murder court

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that the newly designated Lebanese Government should continue to cooperate with the United Nations-backed tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 murders of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.