European Union backs Arab plan for Lebanon

March 5th, 2008 - 2:22 am ICT by admin  

Beirut, March 5 (DPA) European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said that the EU backs an Arab plan to end the Lebanese political crisis and called for electing a Lebanese president before the Arab summit due at the end of March. “We support the Arab plan to end the Lebanese political stalemate,” Solana told reporters after meeting house speaker Nabih Berri here Tuesday.

“I think electing a president in Lebanon should be done before the Arab summit due in Syria in March,” he added.

Lebanon’s ruling majority and the opposition have been locked in a 16-month-old political deadlock that has left the country without a president since November.

Arab League mediation has so far failed to break the impasse that has forced the presidential election to be postponed 15 times since September.

The three-point plan is aimed at immediately electing Lebanese Army Commander General Michel Suleiman as Lebanese president and proceeding to forming a government of national unity and drafting a new electoral law.

News reports in Beirut said Tuesday that a new round of discussions between Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa and Berri have raised “new ideas to settle the Lebanese crises”.

Berri told the daily as-Safir that he is “still betting on the Arab initiative,” disclosing that there are “new ideas which we are working on to reach a consensus solution,” without elaborating.

Meanwhile, al-Akhbar daily, which is close to Hezbollah, reported that a number of phone discussions between Mussa and Berri proposed “new ideas” to reach an agreement before the next presidential election session scheduled for March 11.

Meetings between Lebanese delegates from the opposition and ruling coalition, sponsored by Mussa in Cairo, were considered in the discussions, said the report.

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