United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly lamented on Monday the parliament's failure to elect a new president, expressing the U.N.'s regret over the emergence of vacuum in the presidency.
He said: “We underline again that there is no international impediment to the election.”
“On the contrary, while the process must remain a purely Lebanese one, Lebanon’s friends within the international community stand ready to offer Lebanon every possible encouragement and support at this time,” he added after meeting with members of the International Support Group for Lebanon.
He therefore called on Lebanon’s leaders “to engage intensively to ensure the election of a new president without delay.”
In addition, Plumbly said: “We call on the leaders to ensure that the government is able in this new circumstance to act effectively, as it has to date, to address the economic, security and humanitarian challenges facing the country and to meet Lebanon’s international obligations.”
The International Support Group is committed to continued support for, and partnership with, the government as it seeks to achieve these objectives, he stated.
“We underline again the importance for confidence and stability of avoiding a prolonged vacancy in the presidency,” remarked the U.N. official.
He also stressed the importance of parliamentary elections being held on time in accordance with democratic practice.
Furthermore, Plumbly paid tribute to former President Michel Suleiman’s leadership “during six critical years and to his commitment to Lebanon’s unity and stability, to keeping it safe against the backdrop of the conflict in Syria and to international cooperation not least in respect of the International Support Group and the implementation of United Nations resolutions in particular resolution 1701.”
Suleiman's 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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