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Lebanese Parties Must Resume Dialogue, Ban Says

Lebanese parties must resume dialogue, Secretary-General says

12 May 2008 - Deploring the violence that has engulfed Lebanon over the past week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all parties in the fractured country to resume dialogue as part of a process that should culminate in the election of a president and a solution to the prolonged political crisis.

Mr. Ban "strongly condemns those responsible for the violence... and urges calm and restraint and an immediate stop" to the fighting, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The capital, Beirut, and other areas have been rocked by deadly clashes between pro- and anti-government militias in recent days in what UN Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen has described as Lebanon's worst crisis since the end in 1990 of the long-running civil war.

On Friday both the Security Council and Mr. Ban's spokesperson issued statements to the press in which they stressed the need to uphold Lebanon's sovereignty and put an end to the violence.

In today's statement Mr. Ban voiced "his solidarity with the people and Government of Lebanon, and other legitimate Lebanese institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces. The Secretary-General firmly supports the initiative of the League of Arab States aimed at finding a solution."

He emphasized that Lebanon needs a political process that will lead to the election of a president. The country's parliament has not been able to agree on a candidate for months, despite the office having been vacant since last November and repeated scheduled plans to conduct a vote.

ENDS

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