MaximsNewsNetwork: (http://www.MaximsNews.com ) 08 May 2012: UNTV: United Nations, New York - United Nations special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen today (8 May) warned that the Middle East was currently engaged in a "dance of death at the brink of the abyss of war."
Roed-Larsen spoke to reporters after briefing the United Nations Security Council behind closed doors on the situation in Lebanon.
He recalled that one and a half years ago, he had said that the Middle East was like a tent swaying in the wind before a hurricane. Now "that hurricane came, and the tent is down". He warned that "what we see across the region is a dance of death at the brink of the abyss of war."
Roed-Larsen said that even though Lebanon was a the centre of this "imbroglio", the country so far was stable.
But looking at the situation in Syria, which he thought was "maybe the most likely" to spill over into Lebanon, he was reminded of the situation in Lebanon and its neighbouring countries in the 1970s. "This is what I fear", he said.
Roed-Larsen expressed his support for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's "principled" approach to the Syrian crisis and said it was important for those working for him to "have our ear on the ground". At the same time, he pointed out that the Security Council had much greater power than any UN envoy, and called on the Council to be "on the alert" and "willing to swing into action if necessary".
Asked about arms smuggling between Lebanon and Syria, he responded that there were "reasons to believe that there is a flow of arms both ways", based on information from "a variety of sources".
Earlier today, the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan, said that if Syria were to slip into "full civil war" the implications for the region would be "quite frightening".
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.
More than 61,000 Syrian refugees are receiving humanitarian aid in the region, including 21,000 in Lebanon. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq have maintained an open borders policy for Syrian refugees and UNHCR has been trying to support the governments.
Terje Roed-Larsen serves as the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559. Resolution 1559, adopted in 2004, aimed at strengthening Lebanon's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.
(UNITED NATIONS TELEVISION: UNTV)
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