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Delays In Election Of Lebanese Pres. Concerning

Continuing delays in election of new Lebanese president concern Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been holding talks by telephone this week with Lebanon's political leaders to urge them to find a solution to their tense stand-off over the election of a new president.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was "extremely concerned about the continuing delay in the election" of a president to succeed Emile Lahoud, noting that the postponement has now "extended well past the constitutional timeframe."

"He believes it is now time for this matter to be resolved without further delay," the statement added.

In the past few days Mr. Ban has spoken to Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri and Majority Leader Saad Hariri, and the statement said "the Secretary-General will remain in close touch with Lebanese political leaders who bear, both to the people of Lebanon and to the future of the country, the responsibility to find a solution."

Mr. Ban has stressed repeatedly in recent weeks that Lebanon's political leaders must place the national interest above their personal and sectarian interests.

Last month, while visiting the Lebanese capital Beirut, he told reporters that "the country now stands at an important crossroads in its modern history... A free and fair election of a new president according to constitutional rules without foreign interference [would be] a milestone in the development of Lebanon as a vibrant democracy."


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