The UN Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the assassination of a top army commander in Lebanon, calling it an attempt to destabilize the armed forces. In separate statements on Wednesday, the UN's most powerful body and its chief executive said the killing of Brig. Gen. Francois Hajj, who had been tipped as the likely next head of the army, was an attempt to undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice. They also called for presidential elections to be held without delay. The Lebanese president's office has been vacant since November 23, when Emile Lahoud's term ended.