UN chief Ban Ki-moon is not welcome in Lebanon, a top Hezbollah official said at the weekend, days ahead of the leader's third trip to the Middle Eastern country. "Ban Ki-moon is not welcome in Beirut, nor is the imposter 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 local media.
Feltman is the US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and a former ambassador to Lebanon. 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.
Yazbeck's office on Monday confirmed his statements to AFP. Several Hezbollah officials contacted would not give further comment. Ban Ki-moon arrives in Lebanon on Friday to meet with officials as well as 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 on reform and transition to democracy in the Arab world. Ban Ki-moon'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.