UN chief hails formation of new Lebanese government

Photo: UN chief hails formation of new Lebanese government / Arab World

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Saturday welcomed the formation of a new government in Lebanon and called for a successful presidential elections in the Middle East country, Xinhua reported.

"The Secretary-General warmly welcomes today's announcement of the formation of a new government in Lebanon, and congratulates Prime Minister Tamam Salam on this important step," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.

"The secretary-general encourages Lebanon's political leaders to build on the constructive engagement which led to the formation of the new government to ensure that the country's forthcoming presidential election is successfully conducted within the timeframe set by law," the statement said.

Earlier Saturday, a new government led by new Prime Minister Salam was formed in Lebanon, after a 10-month deadlock.

The new government announcement was the result of a compromise reached by the pro-Syrian March 8 camp and the opposition March 14 camp, and witnessed a complete shuffle in the portfolios.

Salam, born in 1945, is a centrist politician whose father was a long time prime minister, and he is considered close to former prime minister Saad Hariri.

"The secretary-general pays tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati for his leadership," the statement said. "The United Nations looks forward to working with the new government in its efforts to serve the people of Lebanon and to ensure the effective implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and other relevant resolutions which remain essential to the country's stability."

Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese group Hizbollah, calls for respect for the Blue Line, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area.

"Given the severity of the security, humanitarian and economic challenges facing Lebanon, the secretary-general emphasizes the importance of the government being able without delay to act effectively to address such challenges with the full support of all parties," the statement added.

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