Lebanon: AL chief meets rivals as election of president delayed for 15th time
Arab League chief Amr Mussa resumed talks with feuding political leaders in Lebanon on Monday in an effort to break a deadlock that has left the country without a president for three months.
Mussa hosted a meeting late on Sunday bringing together two leading members of the ruling coalition, parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri and former president Amin Gemayel, with Michel Aoun, a Christian leader in the Syrian-backed opposition. The four-hour meeting ended at midnight (local time) with no agreement between the parties on how to end a political crisis.
According to A-Nahar daily, one source said Mussa proposed an "advanced document" that covered a summary of statements made by the rival leaders. The document was supported by the opposition's latest proposal that was presented to Mussa's assistant Hisham Youssef last week.
The Arab League chief has been trying to promote an Arab initiative to solve the crisis. The three-point plan calls for the election of the Lebanese Armed Forces commander, General Michel Suleiman, as the president, the formation of a national unity government, and the drafting of a new electoral law. "I had hoped that we would end with a comprehensive paper, or a comprehensive draft deal," Mussa said. "But it appears that the matter needs more time," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Lebanon postponed its presidential election to March 11 from Feb. 26, the 15th such delay. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced the delay of a parliamentary vote expected after the talks held in Beirut. "In line with the Arab League initiative and to give efforts of its secretary general more chances to achieve consensus among the Lebanese, the (election) session has been postponed," Berri said in a statement.