India hails election of new Lebanese president

May 26th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) India Monday welcomed the election of Lebanon’s former army chief, General Michel Sleiman, as its new president as part of a compromise deal brokered by Qatar to stop fighting between the Hezbollah and the anti-Syria ruling alliance. Indian President Pratibha Patil has also written a letter of congratulation to Sleiman.

“India is confident that the election of President Sleiman will enable Lebanon to continue with the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction,” said external affairs ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna.

India also relayed its appreciation of the role played by the Arab states, led by Qatar, in bringing to an end months of fighting which badly hit the Lebanese capital Beirut.

“The historic election follows efforts of various statesmen and countries of the region. In this regard, the role played by Qatar and by His Highness the Emir of Qatar is especially noteworthy,” added Sarna.

He noted that India had renewed “its call for progress in the Lebanese track of the Middle East peace process”.

Under the Doha agreement, the opposition led by Iran-backed Shia group Hezbollah would have effective veto power in the new national unity cabinet.

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