Western countries urged Lebanese officials on Friday to elect a new president within the constitutional deadline, voicing fear of vacuum at the helm of the country's highest Christian post, which will have negative impacts on Lebanon.
Informed sources reiterated in comments published in As Safir newspaper the U.S. administration's stance, which highlights the importance of “carrying out the polls on time and avoid vacuum.”
The sources described the first round of parliamentary sessions set to elect a new president as “positive,” adding that the U.S. “is counting on Lebanese officials to go on in the process.”
German Ambassador to Lebanon Christian Clages told An Nahar newspaper that his country is “closely following up the situation in Lebanon and the presidential elections.”
He expressed fear of vacuum, pointing out that “the international community encourages Lebanese arch-foes to elect a new head of state according to the constitution.”
Clages considered that “things were on the right track.”
Visiting German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen held talks on Thursday with outgoing President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel and several other officials.
The U.S. sources denied to As Safir daily “reports saying that Washington voiced its interest in a certain candidate... We are still neutral and we prefer that the Lebanese prove that they can elect a president on their own.”
The newspaper said that Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Lawrence Silverman will travel to France soon to discuss several matters including the Lebanese presidential elections.
The first round of the elections on Wednesday failed to elect a new president amid disputes over the name of the new head of state, which threatens a vacuum at the helm of the country's most important Christian post.
The parliament will hold a second vote on April 30, in which the winning candidate will need only a simple majority of 65 votes.
On Wednesday, 124 of the parliament's 128 members were present, with 48 casting their ballots for March 14 official, Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea.
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