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UN Stresses Need For Fair Lebanon Elections

Security Council members stress need for free and fair elections in Lebanon

The Security Council today reaffirmed the need to hold free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon, in conformity with the country's Constitution and without any foreign interference and influence, the 15-member body's president said.

"Members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders and under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon," said Ambassador R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa of Indonesia, which holds the Council's rotating presidency.

"They recalled the need to hold free and fair presidential elections in conformity with the Lebanese Constitution and without any foreign interference and influence," he said in a press statement following a closed-door briefing by Terje Roed-Larsen, the Special Envoy for the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559, which was adopted in 2004.

Council members "reaffirmed the need for all parties to resolve all political issues on the basis of reconciliation and national dialogue," said the Council president, voicing support for the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy in their efforts to facilitate and assist the implementation of the resolution.

The Council's deliberations were based on a recent report of the Secretary-General, who said security conditions and political stalemate are combining to create a "climate of ongoing crisis" in Lebanon and called for the holding of free and fair presidential elections next month without any foreign interference.

"There must not be a constitutional void at the level of the presidency, nor two rival governments," Mr. Ban warned in his latest report on resolution 1559, adding that political dialogue must enable the election of a new president before the constitutional deadline of 24 November.

His Envoy, Mr. Roed-Larsen, told reporters after today's closed-door meeting that "it is the duty of everybody here to call for presidential elections within the defined time frame which expires on 24 November" consistent with Security Council resolutions, including 1559.

He emphasized the need for Member States to raise the issue with all relevant parties. "If there are no elections or if we indeed - worst case - end up with having in principle two presidents or maybe two governments, that would be not good news for Lebanon and not good news for the region," he warned.


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