Naharnet

'Inflexible Stances' Stop Salam from Finding Solution to Crisis as Diplomats Rush to his Support

Officials close to Prime Minister Tammam Salam were not optimistic on Wednesday on a possible solution to Lebanon's political crisis as top diplomats rushed to his support to stop a possible resignation decision.

The officials, who were not identified, told al-Joumhouria daily that “all efforts, which had been exerted until Tuesday, hit a dead-end as a result of inflexible stances that caused a failure in coming up with solutions” to controversial issues.

“Neither a solution has been found to the waste crisis nor to the government's working mechanism,” they said.

The two issues have further complicated the work of the government, which has assumed the responsibilities of the president amid the vacuum at Baabda Palace.

But top diplomats have rushed to Salam's support. Among them are the U.S. and Saudi Ambassadors, the head of the Arab League and the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said al-Joumhouria.

Government sources also told al-Mustaqbal newspaper that the Egyptian Ambassador has held contacts with several parties represented in the government to urge them to preserve the cabinet.

A high-ranking Egyptian diplomat said that Cairo is in contact with all Lebanese sides because it is keen on Lebanon's stability.

Al-Liwaa daily quoted a Western diplomatic source as saying that Paris considers Lebanon's political crisis an important item on the agenda of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius' talks with Iranian officials.

Fabius visited Tehran on Wednesday.

French President Francois Hollande might also visit Beirut in the coming months if the foreign minister's meetings in the Iranian capital led to positive results, an informed French source told al-Liwaa.

Recently, there have been rumors that Salam would resign over the failure to bridge differences between the bickering parties and his inability to find a solution to the government's decision-making mechanism and the waste crisis.

The Free Patriotic Movement has stressed that its ministers should have the right to coordinate with Salam on setting the cabinet's agenda because they consider themselves as representatives of the president in his absence.

Their conditions have crippled the cabinet and intensified the tension between the different parties.

The situation worsened when on July 17 the Naameh landfill was closed. Waste continued to pile up in dumpsters until a temporary solution was found for Sukleen to collect garbage in Beirut and Mount Lebanon earlier this week.

But local officials and residents of several regions have blocked roads and held protests to stop the possible transfer of the waste to their areas.


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