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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hidden Hand in Lebanese Politics?

U.S. Renews Support for Saniora

Source almanatv

24/11/2007 The Bush administration on Friday urged all parties in Lebanon to remain calm and refrain from violence after the country's parliament failed to elect a new president as required by the constitution. The U.S. State Department appealed for the Lebanese military and security services to uphold the rule of law and for political actors to negotiate. The U.S. statement, however, noted that the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora "will temporarily assume executive powers and responsibilities until a new president is elected by Lebanon's Parliament."
"This is the procedure stipulated by the Lebanese constitution and will ensure that the government is able to continue conducting its business without interruption," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in the statement.
"The United States government commends Lebanon's armed forces and security services for their stated commitment to ensuring law and order during this interim period, and we urge all Lebanese political groups to do their part to maintain calm and promote security for Lebanon's citizens," he said.

The European Union also voiced regret that Lebanon failed to elect a new head of state and urged political factions to agree on a compromise. "The EU Presidency notes with regret that it hasn't been possible to elect a president of the Republic of Lebanon," Portugal, current holder of the bloc's rotating presidency, said in a statement.
"The EU Presidency appeals to all political parties to continue dialogue with a view to electing a president as soon as possible," the statement said. Portugal urged "all concerned to respect the Lebanese constitution and to abstain from all actions that could upset public order and the security of the citizens," noting that that Lebanon's stability is "important for the entire region".

Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday expressed deep concern over the Lebanon situation and said he "regrets" the failure by rival politicians to elect a successor to Lahoud. Ban "regrets this development and urges all parties to maintain calm as well as to further intensify efforts to reach a compromise as soon as possible," a statement said. Noting that he was "deeply concerned at the fragility of the situation in Lebanon, the secretary general called on "all parties to live up to their responsibilities and act within the constitutional framework as well as in a peaceful and democratic manner."

Geagea Rejects a President Adopts Hezbollah-FPM Accord

24/11/2007 The head of the Lebanese Forces (LF) Samir Geagea said Saturday that he opposes the election of a president who is committed to the existing understanding between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of General Michel Aoun. He claimed that General Aoun is not the leading Christian leader and urged him to consider consensus on presidential candidates Nassib Lahoud and Butros Harb who represent the Feb. 14 bloc to "salvage Lebanon." Geagea, addressing a news conference, also accused Hezbollah and the FPM of impeding the presidential elections rejecting to adopt their understanding paper.

Meanwhile, General Michel Aoun invited Christian political, spiritual, economic, Labor and media personalities to meetings at his residence to discuss threats facing the nation due parliament's failure to elect a new head of state. The Monday-to-Wednesday meetings were called due to the "extraordinary political situation arising from the presidential vacuum and claims by a non-constitutional government that it has assumed power," according to text of the invitation. Aoun said assuming presidential powers by the Saniora government "contradicts the constitution and entente and deals a blow to coexistence" between Lebanon's 18 sects. He urged all Christian politicians invited to the meetings at his residence in suburban Rabiyeh, east of Beirut, to "shoulder your responsibilities … in order to salvage the nation and preserve Lebanon's pluralist image."

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