Ban calls new Lebanon-Syria diplomatic ties an historic step
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed on Wednesday
"the historic step" taken by Lebanon and Syria to establish full
diplomatic relations for the first time in 60 years, dpa reported.
"This joint effort between two nations reinforces the sovereignty, stability and political independence of the Lebanese state in accordance with the Taif Accord and relevant Security Council resolutions," Ban said.
The accord and resolutions he mentioned had urged normalization of diplomatic ties between the neighbours and settlement of dispute over borders and bilateral issues.
Ban said the decision to establish ties should encourage the two countries to engage in "further constructive dialogue that will bring mutual benefits to both countries and help ensure stability and progress in their bilateral relations."
The UN stands ready to support both countries in reaching their goals of normalizing their relations, Ban said.
Government officials from the two countries met in Damascus Wednesday to initiate the process of formalizing their ties.
The 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri provoked charges that Syria had a hand in the killing. Soon thereafter, massive public protests by Lebanese and huge international pressure forced Damascus to withdraw its troops, which had been stationed there long term as an occupying and stabilizing force.