Report: Christians to Activate Contacts to Develop Declaration of Intent

Contacts between Bkirki and officials from the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Marada Movement are expected to be activated this week in an attempt to resolve the presidential deadlock.

An Nahar daily said Wednesday that Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan is planning to hold separate talks with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, LF chief Samir Geagea and Marada leader MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Geagea's envoy Melhem Riachi is also planning to meet with FPM chief Michel Aoun, who heads the Change and Reform bloc, to discuss the second stage of the declaration of intent that was announced by the two rival leaders during a meeting they held in Rabieh earlier this month, said the newspaper.

According to An Nahar, a proposal made by Aoun to have a referendum on the choice of Christians on their presidential candidate is under study.

Both Aoun and Geagea are candidates. Their rivalry, in addition to differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances, has left Baabda Palace vacant since President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ended in May 2014.

In their declaration of intent, the two Christian leaders called for “the election of a strong president who is embraced by his community and capable of reassuring the other components of the country.”

They agreed to strengthen state institutions, not to resort to arms or violence and to support the army.

The two parties also stressed commitment to dialogue and underlined “their faith in Lebanon, the coexistence formula and the Constitution.”



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