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UN SG underlines commitment to Lebanon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] underscored his commitment to Lebanon's security and sovereignty [press release; transcript] on Friday. Ban Ki-moon stated: "This is a critical moment in the region. It is a time for meaningful change; time to stop the violence and end injustice; time to give people the opportunities they deserve to build a better life." Ban Ki-moon reiterated "that there remain no arms outside the authority of the State" and expressed concern over the military capacity of Hezbollah [JURIST news archive] in the region. In response, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dismissed [Reuters report] Ban's call for Hezbollah to disarm and stated that he was happy that Hezbollah's military power was a cause for concern. Ban also stated that he expected Lebanon to continue complying with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website], which is investigating the 2005 murders of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] and 22 others.

In November, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official profile] urged Hezbollah not to resort to violence [text, JURIST report] in an attempt to impede the investigation of the STL. In an interview published by the Lebanese Newspaper An-Nahar [official website], Clinton reiterated US support for Lebanon and noted that the work of the STL is "legitimate and necessary." She also stressed the independence of the tribunal and that "no one knows what the Special Tribunal is going to do, who it might indict, or when it might choose to move forward." Clinton's interview followed remarks made by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah [BBC profile], who said he would "cut off the hands" of any person attempting to arrest a Hezbollah member in connection with the murder. Nasrallah has previously called for all Lebanese to boycott the STL [JURIST report] after information surfaced suggesting that the tribunal is set to implicate members of Hezbollah as participants in the assassination of Hariri.

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