Arab League envoy to return to Lebanon

Other News Materials 5 February 2008 00:13 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Arab League chief Amr Mussa will return to Beirut on Wednesday to resume his talks with Lebanese leaders in new bid to end the political deadlock in the country, a government source said.

"On top of Mussa's agenda is securing the election of army commander Michel Suleiman as president on February 11," the source said Monday.

Lebanon has been without a president since Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his term on November 23.

Mussa plans to hold a meeting between Christian opposition leader General Michel Aoun, former president Amin Gemayel and lawmaker Saad Hariri to discuss the three-point Arab plan.

The plan calls for the immediate election of the president, the formation of a national-unity government based on the constitution and a new electoral law.

Sources close to the anti-Syrian majority said that Damascus no longer backs Suleiman as president.

"If Syria is not willing to endorse Suleiman's election, then it means Mussa's chances for success in his upcoming trip to Beirut may be the same as his previous visits," the source said.

"The Syrians want a weak Lebanese president who will obey orders just like Lahoud, and for this reason they prefer Lebanon's former minister Fares Boueiz as the next president," the source said.

According to the Lebanese National News Agency, Mussa will focus on a point which calls for the recognition of Lebanon's right to "resist the Israeli occupation," a position that satisfies the Hezbollah-led opposition.

At the same time he will include "respect (for) international resolutions," a stance that pleases the majority.

"Such a stand will build up step-by-step confidence between the Lebanese rivals," a Hezbollah source said.