United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council strongly condemn the bomb explosion which struck the Lebanese capital of Beirut today, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries, and urge all political actors in the Middle Eastern country to maintain their commitment to Lebanese unity.
“At a time of regional turbulence, it is of the utmost importance that all parties ensure calm and restraint in order to preserve peace and stability in Lebanon,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Mr. Ban “conveys his condolences to the families of the victims, and to the Government and people of Lebanon.”
The attack occurred in Beirut’s mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya and, according to media reports, killed at least eight people while injuring dozens others. Among the dead was General Wissam al-Hassan, a senior commander in the Lebanese Internal Security Forces.
The incident comes amidst fears that the conflict in neighbouring Syria, where more than 20,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since an uprising against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began last year, could spill over into Lebanon and exacerbate the delicate sectarian balance already existing in the country.
“The Secretary-General calls on all Lebanese parties not to be provoked by this heinous terrorist act and to maintain their commitment to national unity,” the statement continued, adding that Mr. Ban also called for the incident to be “thoroughly investigated and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”
In a press statement, the members of the Security Council echoed the Secretary-General’s appeals to the Lebanese people to uphold national unity in the face of such intimidation and violence and continue engaging in the pursuit of the so-called National Dialogue under the leadership of President Michel Sleiman.
The National Dialogue, which resumed in June following a two year suspension, brought leaders of the Hizbollah-led March 8 bloc and the opposition March 14 coalition to commit to dialogue and avoid speeches that fuel sectarian hatred, particularly in light of sectarian violence linked to the conflict in Syria.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of any attempt to destabilize Lebanon through political assassinations and demanded an immediate end to the use of intimidation and violence against political figures,” the Council statement noted, while also mentioning that the Council members reaffirmed that terrorism constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”
In addition, the Council members expressed their determination to support Lebanon’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice and urged all States to cooperate with the Lebanese authorities in this regard.