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UN Chief Calls For Political Dialogue in Lebanon


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Beirut Friday for talks on Lebanon's political deadlock.

After meeting with pro-Syrian parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, Mr. Ban urged Lebanon's leaders to engage in dialogue for the purpose of promoting national reconciliation.

The Lebanese government has been in a months-long political standoff with the pro-Syrian opposition led by Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group backed by Syria and Iran.

Mr. Ban also called for progress in creating a tribunal that would investigate and try suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

A U.N. investigation implicated Syrian intelligence officials and their Lebanese allies in the killings. Syria has denied any involvement in the killing.

Mr. Ban also met with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, who is parliamentary majority leader.

The U.N. chief is expected to travel to southern Lebanon on Saturday to visit the U.N. peacekeeping force monitoring a ceasefire that ended a war last year between Israel and Hezbollah.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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