Ban Ki-Moon calls for rule of law in Tunisia

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon urged Monday Tunisia's interim leaders to establish the rule of law in the country and expressed concern over the violence which claimed tens of lives after the ousting of its president.

At a news conference at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, he said Tunisian interim government should make efforts "to ensure the prompt restoration of the rule of law and to accommodate the aspirations of the people."

"We're concerned about the loss of lives and the continuing violence in Tunisia, the UN Chief added.

"The Tunisia situation highlights the need for governments to address the needs of people," he stressed adding that he was not in a position to comment on the implications for other countries in the region.

Ki-Moon also called for international support for the efforts to restore genuine democracy in Tunisia.

"I urge the international community to support efforts to restore genuine democracy in the country".

"The events in Tunisia highlight the need to address the underlying social and economic needs of the population," he added.

On the situation in Lebanon, Ban Ki-Moon said "nobody should politicise the work of the UN-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of Lebanon's former premier Rafiq Hariri.

"The independent judicial process should not be linked to any political debate." "It is important not to prejudge the outcome of the investigation," the UN secretary general said.

Asked if there are plans to withdraw the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, in the event of unsuitable developments, Ki-Moon said "Unifil will continue with its mandate as set by UN Security Council and said he hoped Lebanon sees the speedy formation of a new government.

The Unifil "will continue its mandate in accordance" with the measures and time line set by the UN Security Council."

He expressed hopes for a speedy formation of a new government in Lebanon where, he said, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman "is working very hard" on this issue."

On the situation in Palestine, the UN Chief described the situation in Gaza Strip as "unacceptable," and called for a halt to "settlement activities including in East Jerusalem".

He also said he called upon the Middle East peace Quartet to hold a meeting soon.

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