Envoys of Paris meeting nations warn Lebanon on failure to elect president


The continued failure to elect a new president in Lebanon “will dictate a reevaluation of the entire relations” with the country, the envoys of the five nations that took part in the latest Paris meeting said on Monday.

“If MPs don’t perform their duties, foreign countries will not be keener than Lebanese officials themselves,” caretaker PM Najib Mikati’s office quoted the envoys as saying during a meeting with the premier at the Grand Serail.

“No statement was issued by the Paris meeting because the meetings are open-ended and continuous for the sake of supporting Lebanon and encouraging the election of a new president,” the office added in a statement, also quoting the ambassadors.

“Real support for Lebanon will begin after the election of the new president and the implementation of the needed reforms,” the ambassadors went on to say.

The foreign delegation was comprised of U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, French Ambassador to Lebanon Anne Grillo, Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Yasser Elwy, Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon Ibrahim Abdul Aziz al-Sahlawi and Saudi Embassy Counselor Fares al-Amoudi.

Representatives of the five nations had met last week in Paris to discuss Lebanon's woes.

The international community has long urged Lebanese leaders to end months of political wrangling and stem the financial meltdown.

But decision-making in Lebanese politics can take months of horse-trading between foreign-backed sectarian leaders, with Michel Aoun's election in 2016 coming after more than two years without a president.

In the absence of political action, the market value of the Lebanese pound hit a new record low Monday of more than 69,000 to the U.S. dollar.

Lebanon's divided lawmakers have made 11 unsuccessful attempts to name a new president and have not convened since January 19.

Lawmakers supporting Hezbollah and those opposing the Iran-backed group have been divided on Lebanon's next leader -- but neither side has a clear majority.

Two Lebanese MPs have been holding a sit-in in parliament for nearly a month in hopes of jolting fellow lawmakers into action.

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