Lebanon + 1 more

Lebanon: Ban Ki-moon demands immediate halt to attacks

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplores the criminal attacks carried out over the past several days against the Lebanese Army and security forces. These actions constitute an assault on Lebanon's stability and sovereignty, and have seriously endangered civilians. They must halt immediately.

The Secretary-General also deplores today's attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) humanitarian supply convoy, and expressed his grave concern about the conditions for Palestinians living in Nahr el-Bared refugee camp. He calls for the immediate establishment of safe corridors to allow medical staff to assist and evacuate those in need.

He is deeply saddened by the civilian casualties that have resulted and appeals to all concerned to do their utmost to avoid further bloodshed.

The Secretary-General also strongly condemns the second terrorist bombing that took place yesterday in the Verdun district of Beirut. He appeals to the Lebanese people to unite in confronting the challenges facing their country.

The Secretary-General is continuing to monitor the situation very closely and is in contact with Prime Minister Siniora and other regional leaders to help alleviate the situation.

The Lebanon Director for UNRWA, Richard Cook, has expressed deep concern about the worsening humanitarian situation and the losses of civilian lives in the Nahr El Bared camp. Working in close cooperation with the Lebanese Army, the Lebanese Red Cross, UN agencies and other parties, Cook said that UNRWA is attempting to provide essential care, food and water to the camp residents and to evacuate the injured and the dead.

An estimated 31,000 people live in the camp. UNRWA provides basic services, including primary health care, at a clinic where, under normal circumstances, UN doctors examine some 500 patients daily.

Asked if the Secretary-General has been taking up the issue of humanitarian access to the Palestinian refugee camp, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon has been doing precisely that in his phone conversations with leaders in the region, including Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the Syrian and Saudi foreign ministers. "His discussions with the leaders were about the humanitarian situation and how we can alleviate human suffering" in the camp, she emphasized, adding that the Secretary-General will continue to raise this issue, among others, during further telephone calls he intends to make this afternoon to other regional leaders.

In response to a question, Montas said that the Secretary-General was very concerned about the reported spread of the violence to other camps for Palestinian refugees across Lebanon and he also raised this issue in his conversations with regional leaders.