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Hizbollah: Ban Ki-moon not welcome in Lebanon

A top official from Hizbollah says the UN chief is not welcome in Beirut days ahead of his third visit to the country.

BEIRUT // The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, is not welcome in Lebanon, a top Hizbollah official said at the weekend, days ahead of the leader's third trip to the country.

"Ban Ki-moon is not welcome in Beirut, nor is the impostor Terje Roed-Larsen or the messenger of evil and conspiracies Jeffrey Feltman," Sheikh Mohammed Yazbeck, who heads the party's religious council, was quoted as saying over the weekend by the Lebanese media.

Mr Feltman is the US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and a former ambassador to Lebanon.

Mr Larsen is the UN special coordinator for the implementation of resolution 1559, which calls for the disarmament of all groups other than the national Lebanese army.

Sheikh Yazbeck's office yesterday confirmed his statements.

Mr Ban is due to arrive in Lebanon on Friday to meet officials and the force commander of the UN peacekeeping force deployed in the south of the country.

He is also scheduled to give the opening remarks at a two-day UN conference in Beirut about reform and transition to democracy in the Arab world.

Mr Ban's visit comes amid concern over the safety of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which has been the target of several attacks in recent months.

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