Wrapping up his two-day visit to Lebanon, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an end to the conflict in Syria and appealed for "peace in the Middle East". The UN chief met with several Lebanese officials during his trip and spoke to two Syrian refugee families as well.

"The United Nations will spare no effort in seeking to put an end to the conflict in Syria and to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East," said Ban Ki-moon during a news conference in Beirut. "This is a critical time for the region. It is time to stop the violence and end injustice, to give people the opportunities they deserve to build a better life."

Lebanon is home to over 1.2m Syrian refugees fleeing conflict in their war-torn country that has claimed over 270,000 lives. "[Lebanon is] a vital example to the region of coexistence and pluralism," said Ban commending the country, reported France24 News.

"The people of this country need their party leaders to work with the prime minister [Tammam Salam] so that the government can respond to their needs...Most of all, they need the political parties to elect a president. As long as the vacancy of the presidency persists, national unity and Lebanon's standing will remain fragile and incomplete."

Earlier in January 2016, Ban Ki-moon warned that the deliberate starvation of citizens is a war crime, referring to the famine-hit Syrian town of Madaya, that he said is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. "The town has been the victim of deliberate starvation. The use of food as a weapon of war is a war crime," said Ban ki-moon during a speech before the UN General Assembly. "All sides, including the Syrian government, which has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians, are committing atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law...Combatants have showed complete and utter disregard for Madaya's people."

Ban ki-Moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon speaks with Syrian refugees during his visit to Al-Dalhamiyya refugee camp at Beqaa valley in Beirut, Lebanon on March 25, 2016. Getty Images