Report: Qatari envoy fails to find 'common ground' between Lebanese parties
Qatar has reportedly failed to find common ground between Lebanese political parties, amid a protracted and bitter presidential crisis that has dragged since Michel Aoun's term ended in October last year.
An informed source told al-Akhbar, in remarks published Tuesday, that the Free Patriotic Movement and opposition forces have refused the nomination of Army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun as a third-man solution, while the Shiite Duo clinged to its candidate, Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh.
Qatari envoy Jassem Bin Fahad Al-Thani, who is trying to find a third candidate, other than Franjieh and former minister Jihad Azour, suggested acting General Security chief Brig. Gen. Elias Baissari, the source said, but the Shiite Duo refused to back off from supporting Franjieh.
Media reports had claimed that Al-Thani tried to convince Franjieh to withdraw and that he asked Hezbollah what it would do in case Franjieh did. But, according to the source, Franjieh said he will not withdraw from the presidential race.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address Monday that the Qatari envoy is exerting daily efforts to reach a result but that "nothing is clear" so far.
The divided Parliament failed for 12 times to elect a new president, with neither of the two main blocs -- Hezbollah and its opponents -- having the 86 votes required to elect one in a first round of voting.
Hezbollah and Amal MPs left every session before the second round of voting -- where the winner only requires 65 ballots.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri hasn't called for an electoral session since June 14. He instead called for a dialogue before going to "open-ended sessions to elect a president."
The opposition refused to engage in dialogue to agree on a head of state before proceeding with a vote, preferring to rely on the democratic process.
Last week French special envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanese factions to find a "third way" for electing a new president, warning that France and its allies the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, were losing patience after almost a year of deadlock and now reviewing their financial aid.