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Lebanese Political Accord Offers 'A New Beginning'

Lebanese political accord offers 'a new beginning,' Secretary-General says

27 May 2008 - Lebanon's political leadership must not lose the momentum created by last week's agreement ending the protracted stand-off in the country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling the accord "a new beginning" to be grasped by all sides.

Responding to questions from journalists at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban cautioned that last week's Doha agreement does not mean all outstanding issues in Lebanon have been resolved.

He said that some "social, political and stability issues," including the armament of the group Hizbollah, still have to be worked out among the parties.

"Therefore, I think this is a new beginning, a new opportunity for the people and Government of Lebanon. They should not lose this momentum... I urge political leaders and people, all factional leaders, to engage in inclusive dialogue for reconciliation and political and social stability."

On Sunday, as part of the Doha accord, the Lebanese Parliament elected Michel Suleimane as the country's new President, ending a deadlock over the post that had lasted for six months.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Mr. Ban congratulated the Lebanese people on the election, voicing hope that the "historic event leads to the revitalization of all of Lebanon's constitutional institutions and a return to political dialogue within this framework."

ENDS

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