UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Hezbollah to transform itself into a political party like other parties in Lebanon, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.
"I think there are many problems in Lebanon," Guterres told the newspaper during his trip to the country. "I think that it is important that Hezbollah becomes a political party that plays the political party roles as any other political party in Lebanon."
The UN chief added that Lebanese institutions need to be strengthened. "When you have an elephant in the room, the best thing you can do is to enlarge the room for the elephant not to be a problem."
He revealed that he had obtained clear pledges from President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to conduct a "free and fair" legislative election in early May next year.
"Moreover," added Guterres, "it is absolutely essential that Lebanon re-establishes relations with the Gulf countries. And I appeal to the countries of the Gulf to be part of the recovery of Lebanon."
On regional matters, he expressed his "grave concern" regarding the "no war, no peace" situation in Syria. The mediation of Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, he noted, is the "only game in town."