Ban Urges Syria to Respect Lebanon’s Sovereignty to Avoid Shattering the Calm

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed serious concern over the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on the security and political situation in Lebanon.

In his semi-annual report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1559, Ban condemned the violence along the Lebanese-Syrian border which has inflicted scores of casualties.

“Such actions are not acceptable,” he said about the death of several Lebanese by gunfire from the Syrian side of the border. The latest casualty was al-Jadeed TV cameraman Ali Shaaban whose vehicle came under a salvo of gunfire in the Lebanese northern border area of Wadi Khaled.

Ban urged the Syrian government to stop all such actions and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon and the safety of its territory in accordance with resolution 1559.

While expressing his serious concern over the effect of the Syrian crisis on the security and political situation in Lebanon, the secretary-general urged all Lebanese to safeguard Lebanon against the potential consequences.

He also expressed fears on the increasing political polarization in Lebanon due to the turmoil in Syria. However, Ban lauded the government of Prime Minister Najib Miqati for its efforts to ensure that the negative impact of the crisis in Syria on Lebanon is limited.

The report reiterated that the presence of Hizbullah and other armed groups on Lebanese territories was impeding the implementation of resolution 1559.

It said Hizbullah's arms posed a key challenge to the safety of Lebanese civilians and to the authority of the government and called on the group to complete the transformation into a solely Lebanese political party.

Ban also condemned the murder attempt against Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, saying any effort to create instability in Lebanon by carrying out political assassinations is “not acceptable.”

Earlier this month, Geagea said he escaped an assassination attempt after snipers missed him as they fired at him from long distance while he was walking in the garden of his residence in Maarab.

Resolution 1559, which was adopted in 2004, calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all factions in Lebanon.

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