Syrian unrest must not be allowed to affect Lebanon, senior UN official warns

7 September 2011

Current unrest in neighbouring Syria must not be allowed to affect the stability of Lebanon, a senior United Nations official warned today, calling for agreement on the issue between the country’s various political parties.

“It will not be easy but great effort is needed,” UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams told reporters after conferring with Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel as part of a series of farewell meetings he is holding with national leaders prior to the end of his mission this month.

“There needs to be political consensus that what happens in Syria is not allowed to affect Lebanon. Prime Minister [Najib] Mikati told me yesterday that he too is determined to keep stability and calm in Lebanon.”

Mr. Williams also expressed concern at bomb attacks in recent months against convoys of the 12,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), entrusted with monitoring the ceasefire that ended the month-long fighting between Israel and the Lebanese Islamic group Hizbollah in 2006. “We want to ensure that this kind of terrorist outrage is not repeated,” he said.


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