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Paris to Host Int’l Meeting Monday to Address Lebanon’s Presidential Crisis

Paris to Host Int’l Meeting Monday to Address Lebanon’s Presidential Crisis

Sunday, 5 February, 2023 - 07:00
The seat of the Lebanese presidency that became vacant in November after parties failed to agree on a successor to Michel Aoun. (EPA)

Paris will host on Monday an international meeting aimed at tackling the Lebanese presidential crisis. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, Egypt and Qatar will attend.

Lebanese officials are skeptical that the Paris meeting will yield a breakthrough in the impasse. Rather, they believe it will discuss the general characteristics of what the next president should enjoy.

Lebanon has been without a president since November when Michel Aoun’s term ended.

Several elections sessions have been held at parliament, but no single candidate has won enough votes to be named president.

The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), headed by former MP Walid Jumblatt, had recently declared that army commander Joseph Aoun is at the top of the list of potential candidates.

Influential parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has been holding intensive meetings with various officials to help end the impasse, but little progress has been achieved.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese parliamentary delegation left Washington on Saturday after a nearly week-long visit to attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the White House.

The delegation included “Change” MPs, several journalists and obscure political figures, who had made the trip at their own personal expense.

Sources from the delegation said each member had their own agenda during the trip that they discussed with various American officials, including US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf.

Leaf advised the Lebanese to take the initiative themselves and resolve the presidential deadlock, form a new government that can take on the responsibility of rebuilding state institutions and achieve political and economic reforms.

Independent MP Yassine Yassine told Asharq Al-Awsat that Leaf was clear in ruling out the possibility of Lebanon relying on American “intervention” to end the crisis.

Moreover, after meeting with various Congress officials, he concluded that the Lebanese crisis is not a priority in Washington and it will not intervene to back any candidate.

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