(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the resumption of the National Dialogue between political leaders in Lebanon, Ban's spokesperson said Wednesday.
"The Secretary-General commends President Sleiman's initiative in re-launching the National Dialogue," the spokesperson said in a statement. "He encourages political leaders in Lebanon to continue their work in this important process and looks forward to the next meeting planned for 25 June." The spokesperson added that the UN chief also welcomed the declaration issued following the National Dialogue meeting - between the leaders of the Hizbollah-led March 8 bloc and the opposition March 14 coalition - on 11 June.
According to media reports, that meeting, chaired by Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman, was the first session of the National Dialogue in some 18 months. At the meeting, leaders agreed to commit themselves to dialogue and avoid speeches that fuel sectarian hatred.
President Sleiman had reportedly called for the resumption of the National Dialogue, suspended since November 2010, in light of sectarian violence in Lebanon linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
"The United Nations continues to believe that the National Dialogue can play a crucial part in promoting stability and the authority of the state in Lebanon," Ban's spokesperson said. He added that the commitment of Lebanon's political leaders to safeguarding the country from the impact of regional tensions at this difficult time is particularly important.