The United Nations on Wednesday called for greater international support to protect an increasingly divided Lebanon from fallout from the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Deadly clashes in Lebanon between supporters and opponents of Syria's President Bashar Assad have highlighted the need for international action, the U.N.'s political chief told the Security Council.
"As the crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate, the situation in Lebanon has become more precarious and the need for continued international support to the government and the Lebanese Armed Forces increasingly important," said under secretary general Jeffrey Feltman.
"Tensions over domestic and security concerns remain high throughout the country and are easily exacerbated by developments in Syria," Feltman told a council meeting on the Middle East.
Clashes in the northern city of Tripoli on Wednesday that left at least eight dead, the kidnappings of Syrians in Lebanon, and shelling across the border have all heightened concern about Lebanon's stability.
Feltman said the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha for involvement in smuggling explosives from Syria had also "deepened concerns about attempts to draw Lebanon into regional concerns."
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently held talks with Prime Minister Najib Miqati on the crisis and "remains focused on protecting Lebanon's stability and sovereignty," Feltman said.
The United Nations has an 11,500 strong peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon to police a buffer zone with Israel.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/50895|