BEIRUT: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati for their handling of the aftermath of the assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.
A statement issued Sunday by Sleiman's press office said Ban contacted President Michel Sleiman condemning the “criminal act” that killed the head of the police’s intelligence department Friday.
“Ban ki-moon contacted Sleiman and condemned the criminal act that targeted Hasan and offered him his condolences,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the U.N. official said he hoped the President, alongside the Cabinet, would maintain efforts to protect the country and preserve its stability.
“Ban Ki-moon wished the Lebanese president and the Cabinet would keep up their responsibilities to protect Lebanon and maintain its stability,” the statement said.
The U.N. Secretary-General also called Prime Minister Najib Mikati Saturday to discuss Friday's bombing in Beirut, a statement from the U.N. said.
“Ban expressed strong solidarity with the people of Lebanon and commended the prime minister, the government and the president for their handling of the matter,” the statement said.
It added that the secretary-general offered his deepest condolences for the loss of life, and noted he had issued a strong statement on the attack.
Meanwhile, another statement by the U.N. said it has cancelled an annual ceremony scheduled to take place next week in Beirut.
“In the spirit of national mourning following the appalling explosion on Friday in Ashrafieh, the United Nations in Lebanon announces that its annual reception celebrating United Nations Day will be cancelled,” the U.N. statement said.
According to the statement, the U.N. will transfer the funds that were set aside for the U.N. Day reception to assist Ashrafieh residents who have been affected by Friday’s explosion.
The event had been originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut, the statement said.
Hasan was killed by a car bomb Friday in the Ashrafieh district of Beirut. According to media reports he had returned to the country from Paris shortly before.
He will be laid to rest on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the mausoleum of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.