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Lebanon: Annan welcomes dialogue towards stability

Annan welcomes national dialogue towards stability in Lebanon

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the national dialogue officially initiated today by the Lebanese Speaker of Parliament on issues critical for the country, expressing hope that it will contribute to political stability there.

“The Secretary-General congratulates the Speaker of Parliament for this crucial and timely initiative and wishes it every success,” Mr. Annan’s spokesman said in a formal statement in New York.

Last month, the UN Security Council said “a broad national dialogue” was needed in the country to make more progress in satisfying its resolution 1559, which called for an end to foreign influence in Lebanon.

While the withdrawal of Syrian forces and the holding of credible parliamentary elections in May and June 2005 had been accomplished, the Council’s statement pointed to the need for a dialogue on disbanding militias and reasserting Government control over parts of the country.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, last week called Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri to voice his support for the national dialogue.

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