Arab League chief Mussa sets up second meeting with rival Lebanese

Other News Materials 25 February 2008 17:52 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa secured Monday a second meeting in less than 24 hour between rival Lebanese leaders in trying to removing obstacles in his bid to end a 15-month- old political crisis that has left the country without a president for three months.

Mussa arrived in Beirut on Sunday to host a meeting that brought together former president Amin Gemayel and the head of the ruling majority in parliament Saad Hariri, with Michel Aoun representing the Hezbollah-led opposition.

The lengthy meeting did not result in a breakthrough, but certain conditions were set between the rival parties for consideration ahead of Monday's meeting.

According to Ghattas Khoury, a close aide of Hariri, "there are still no positive signs." Khoury did not, however, rule out that the ongoing talks "are constructive in a way to remove some obstacles."

The so-called quartet talks are taking place at the Lebanese parliament in downtown Beirut, amid tight security.

Mussa also held talks with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, Hariri and Prime Minister Fouad Seniora on Sunday.

Mussa's latest attempt at mediation in Lebanon focusses on efforts the implementation of a three-point Arab plan to solve the deepening political crisis, only two days before parliament is due to meet to elect a new president.

Lebanon has been without a president since Emile Lahoud's term ended in late November. So far 14 attempts to hold a parliament session to pick a new president have been postponed.

Mussa has made several missions to Beirut to push for the Arab League initiative calling for the election of Army Commander General Michel Suleiman as a compromise candidate for president. The plan also calls for the formation of a national unity government in which no one party has veto power and the adoption of a new electoral law.

So far his efforts have been unsuccessful and the political tensions have on occasion turned into street clashes in Beirut, amid ominous warnings by some of renewed civil strife.