UN chief urges Lebanon's feuding factions to work toward compromise

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Lebanon's feuding factions Friday to stay calm and intensify efforts to resolve a dispute over the presidency, saying he was deeply concerned about the "fragility of the situation." Ban said he regretted the Lebanese parliament's failure to vote on successor to President Emile Lahoud, who leaves office Saturday. The UN chief "urges all parties to maintain calm as well as to further intensify efforts to reach a compromise as soon as possible," according to a statement released by his office. "The secretary-general is deeply concerned at the fragility of the situation in Lebanon and is following events very carefully." Lahoud, a staunch ally of Syria, declared a state of emergency Friday and ordered the army to take over security powers. The pro-Western government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora rejected the move, raising tensions.