UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday voiced its "deep concern" at the impact of the Syrian crisis on the stability of neighboring Lebanon, and called on all Lebanese people to preserve national unity and refrain from involvement in the Syrian crisis.
The 15-nation UN body made the appeal in a statement issued here by Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador who holds the rotating council presidency for March. Earlier on Thursday, the Security Council heard a briefing by the UN representative in Lebanon and officials from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
"Security Council members expressed also their deep concern at the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon's stability," the statement said. "They appealed to all Lebanese people to preserve national unity in the face of attempts to undermine the country's stability and stressed the need for all Lebanese parties to respect Lebanon's policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis."
Lebanon was affected by spillover of the Syrian crisis, which broke out in March 2011, later turned into violence and prompted thousands of Syrian refugees to flee into neighboring countries, including Lebanon.
"Security Council members welcomed the continued efforts of President (Michel) Sleiman to preserve Lebanon's unity and stability," said the statement. "They encouraged all parties in Lebanon to make swift progress to ensure that parliamentary elections take place on a consensual basis within the legal and constitutional framework."
The council members also recalled the need to put an end to impunity in Lebanon and reiterated their full support for the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the statement said.
"Security Council members also acknowledged the important role played by the Lebanese security and armed forces in sustaining national unity and sovereignty, and welcomed steps being taken to further develop their capacities, including through the strategic dialogue with UNIFIL, and encouraged further international assistance to this end," the statement said, referring to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
"Security Council members, gravely concerned at the impact of the growing flow of refugees fleeing violence in Syria, now totaling over 360,000 in Lebanon, called upon the international community to follow through on humanitarian aid pledges made during the Kuwait conference of Jan. 30, 2013," the statement said. "They commended Lebanon's generous efforts in hosting and assisting those refugees."