Arab League agrees on new Lebanon plan
Arab League chief Amr Mussa said on Sunday he will head to Lebanon to discuss a plan adopted by Arab foreign ministers calling for the election of presidential candidate Michel Suleiman. "There has been an agreement which I will present to the Lebanese parties for discussion during my visit," Mussa told reporters at an early morning news conference, adding that he will go to Beirut "within two days."
Foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab League held an extraordinary meeting on Saturday at the body's Cairo headquarters aimed at resolving Lebanon's political crisis. "The ministers welcome favourably the consensus around Michel Suleiman as a candidate for the presidency and call for his immediate election in accordance with the constitution," Mussa said, according to AFP.
Lebanese parliamentary majority leader MP Saad Hariri welcomed the "noble and historic" plan. "We are eager to open a new page, and rely on the Arab road map for the election of (army chief) General Michel Sleiman as president of the Lebanese republic," he said in a statement.
"The declaration by the Arab foreign ministers presents the Lebanese with a new chance to elect a consensus president and fill the presidency," Hariri stated.
But a member of parliament from Hizbullah said the opposition wanted clarifications on some aspects of the next government.
The Arab ministers agreed on a three-point plan, namely the election of a president, forming a government of national unity and the adoption of a new electoral law, Mussa conveyed. They called for "an immediate agreement on the formation of a national unity government" in Lebanon, constructed in such a way as to deny either faction the right to impose their policies on the other side, he said.
Under the plan, which aims to meet the demands of both the ruling coalition and the opposition, the new president would have the power to approve government decisions, he said.
Syria, represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Walid Muallem backed the plan, Mussa said.