British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher stressed on Monday the need for the election of a president in Lebanon, saying that the opportunity to choose a President “Made in Lebanon” remains despite the vacuum in the presidency.
He said: “We are in a new phase. But Lebanon has come through tough times before. With the right spirit of responsibility and compromise Lebanon can come through this.”
“President Michel Suleiman led Lebanon through six turbulent years with great wisdom and dedication, never ceasing to promote dialogue and compromise,” he stated after holding talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
“We hope now that Lebanese leaders will show that same spirit, putting aside factional interests to respond to the challenges facing the country, as they did in the formation of Salam’s government,” he added.
“Continuity of state institutions is vital,” remarked Fletcher.
“There is no magic international fix” to the deadlock over the presidency, he added, while noting: “It is a dangerous illusion to pretend that there is.”
“Lebanon needs a president to take this country forward. To provide the balance its institutions require. To confront massive humanitarian, economic and political challenges. To lead much needed dialogue,” added the ambassador.
Moreover, he said: “Lebanon needs a president chosen because of what he or she can offer the country, not what they offer regional or local allies.”
“The international community needs a president too, as a partner for the support we want to give for stability,” Fletcher continued.
“As we enter this new phase, the UK will continue to help to build the Lebanon that its talented and resilient people deserve,” he concluded.
Suleiman's six-year term ended on Saturday with parliament failing to elect his successor due to the ongoing differences between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over the elections.
The dispute prompted the March 8 forces, namely Hizbullah and the Free Patriotic Movement, to boycott the majority of the presidential elections sessions.
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