Ban encouraged by Arab League’s Lebanon plan, urges non-interference of neighbours


United Nations : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he was “encouraged” by the Arab League efforts to end the constitutional crisis in Lebanon and urged the “neighbouring” countries not to interfere in Lebanese affairs so that the Lebanese people could find a solution on their own.

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“I am encouraged by the efforts of the League of Arab States announced yesterday (Sunday). I once again call on Lebanese leaders to think about the future of their country, transcending sectarian and individual interests. And on the neighboring countries, I urge them to help the Lebanese people so that they will be able to overcome this crisis on their own will without foreign interference,” Ban told a press conference, the first in 2008, Monday.

Ban said he continued to be in close contact with Lebanese leaders and more broadly with international and regional leaders to try to find a solution to the “prolonged political crisis.” Lebanon did not have a president since Nov 23.

“I am deeply disappointed by the current situation in which the Lebanese people have not been able to elect their own president for such a long time. Failure to reach an early agreement would represent a betrayal of the expectations of both the Lebanese people and the international community,” he said, reading from a prepared text.

The plan is reportedly accepted by Syria, which is said to have influence on the Lebanese opposition, and from the Lebanese parliamentary majority. Hezbollah said it needs to examine the plan.

Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general, is expected in Beirut within the next 24 hours to explain the plan to all Lebanese parties.

At a meeting in Cairo over the weekend, Arab Foreign Ministers, including Syria’s, backed the head of Lebanon’s army, Commander General Michel Suleiman as the country’s next president.