(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret on Sunday that the Lebanese Parliament failed to elect a new President within the timeframe set by the constitution, and called on the country's leaders to engage "intensively" to elect one without delay, his press office said in a statement.
Until it does, Ban also called on Lebanese leaders to ensure the continued effective functioning of the State institutions, to guarantee that the Government is able to address challenges facing the country, and to meet Lebanon's international obligations.
"The United Nations remains committed to continued partnership with the Government of Lebanon as it works towards achieving these goals," the statement added.
Ban paid tribute to the leadership demonstrated by outgoing President Michel Suleiman over the past six years and lauded his commitment to the unity and stability of Lebanon, including through the International Support Group for Lebanon and the implementation of relevant UN resolutions.
The political factions' failure five times to elect a successor to President Suleiman, whose six-year term ends today, creates a presidential vacuum that observers fear could plunge the country further into sectarian tension in a region already facing so many challenges.