The United States expressed concern Friday that Lebanon could find itself dragged into Syria's civil war and expressed support for efforts by the country's army to halt an outbreak of fighting.
"The United States is deeply concerned about the situation in Lebanon," State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.Full Story
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Friday announced his support for extending parliament's term, rejecting “the elections farce” and defending the army against verbal attacks from Tripoli politicians.
“Amid these bleak circumstances, I don't think that it is useful to engage in the elections farce,” said Jumblat after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh.Full Story
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Friday rejected a return to the 1960 electoral law, urging Speaker Nabih Berri to hold a parliamentary session aimed at voting on a new law.
“Holding a cabinet session to form the electoral supervisory commission and take the necessary measures to hold the polls under the 1960 law is against the National Pact and thus illegitimate despite being legal,” Geagea said in a press release.Full Story
Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Friday called for holding the parliamentary elections on time and stressed the importance of sparing Lebanon the impact of regional conflicts.
“We categorically reject extension (of parliament's term) and elections must be held according to any current or new law, and laws must not be an excuse” for postponing elections, al-Rahi said at the Rafik Hariri International Airport upon his return from a 56-day tour of Latin America.Full Story
Hassan is just 18 and a fighter with Hizbullah, which sent nearly 2,000 men to support the Syrian army's assault on the central town of Qusayr this week.
His father Ali was also among the ranks of the Hizbullah men battling rebels in the key town, many of them holed up in tunnels.Full Story
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati, Premier-designate Tammam Salam, and former PM Fouad Saniora and Omar Karami condemned on Friday the clashes in the northern city of Tripoli, calling on security agencies to tackle the situation.
They said in a statement after meeting at the Grand Serail: “The dangerous political and security situation requires speeding up the formation of a new government that can take the necessary measures to tackle the unrest.”Full Story
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly reiterated on Friday calls for political foes to carry out the parliamentary elections according to “international standards.”
“The U.N. is involved in providing technical support to the Ministry of Interior in the preparations for elections... Lebanese leaders must ensure the continuity of institutions,” Plumbly said after holding talks with Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.Full Story
President Michel Suleiman noted on Friday that the Lebanese people are “willingly” turning Lebanon into a battle ground through the unrest in the northern city of Tripoli and through fighting in the Syrian region of al-Qusayr.
He said on the occasion of the Resistance and Liberation Day: “The concept of resistance must rise above strife on the internal scene or in fraternal countries.”Full Story
Several officials submitted on Friday their candidacies to the upcoming parliamentary polls, including the Free Patriotic Movement, the AMAL movement, the March 14 Independent MPs, the Lebanese Forces and Hizbullah, despite strong objections over the adoption of the 1960 electoral law at the polls to avoid uncontested victories.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Caretaker Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui and several members of the party filed their electoral candidacies.Full Story
French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli reiterated calls for foes in Lebanon to find a way to return to dialogue and to agree on preventing the developments in the neighboring country Syria from having a negative impact on the situation in the country.
“The battles in Qusayr don't fall in Lebanon's best interest and we are looking forward for the foes to carry out the parliamentary elections on time and to form a new cabinet,” Paoli said in comments published in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.Full Story