BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Ban says concerned over violence in Lebanon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives his first press conference of the year at United Nations headquarters in New York on January 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand

BEIRUT: U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon voiced concern Friday over the escalation of violence in Lebanon, saying the lack of a functioning government has created a political vacuum that has paralyzed the decision-making process.

“I am deeply concerned about the escalation of violence witnessed in Lebanon in recent months,” Ban said at an annual news conference in New York, adding that he spoke to caretaker PM Najib Mikati about the current situation.

“I call on all Lebanese parties to act with restraint and for the Lebanese people to come together to support the institution of the state. Still, it is a caretaker government. It is important that the [Lebanese] government and people should establish the government,” he said.

“The Prime Minister is already nominated, but it has almost been a year ago, so the government cannot take any important decisions. That may also create a certain kind of political vacuum,” Ban added.

Lebanon has been rocked by a series of car bombs in various parts of the country particularly in Beirut neighborhoods where Hezbollah enjoys broad support.

In addition to the deteriorating security situation in the country, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has struggled to form a government since his appointment in April.

However, some positive signs have emerged in recent days that rival groups might agree on a new government lineup.

“We sincerely hope that there will soon be the establishment of a government. I may have an opportunity of meeting either Prime Minister Mikati or President [Michel] Sleiman this month and I will discuss this matter with them,” Ban said.

 

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