Suleiman calls for dialogue to overcome Lebanese cabinet delay

Other News Materials 5 June 2008 22:47 (UTC +04:00)

Lebanon's newly-elected President Michel Suleiman said Thursday obstacles delaying the cabinet make-up could be overcome only through dialogue among all factions, the dpa reported.

Informed sources said the president, quoted during talks with visitors, also denied allegations that some foreign parties were pressuring him to nominate certain figures for the next cabinet.

"There is no party that can pressure Baabda (the Presidential Palace)," Suleiman was quoted as saying, adding: "We are only ready to move under the pressure of national and Arab interests."

Lebanese political sources said a Qatari envoy was scheduled to visit Beirut Friday to try to mend fences among the rivals.

The conflict between the US-backed ruling coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition was brought to an end by a deal mediated in Qatar on May 21.

The agreement paved the way for Suleiman's election and the setting up of a new national unity government under the premiership of Fouad Seniora.

Negotiations between the ruling coalition and opposition suffered a setback Wednesday night after a member of the sunni Future Current movement was shot in an area at the outskirts of Beirut's southern Suburbs, a hotbed for Hezbollah.

Future Current movement leader Saad Hariri announced that he was suspending his participation in talks aimed at forming a new cabinet to protest slack security in Beirut.

Prime Minister-designate Seniora is consulting with various parliamentary factions on forming a government. The Doha agreement calls for a 30-member national unity government in which the opposition has its long-demanded veto power.

The rival leaders also agreed to adopt the 1960 electoral law under the Doha accord, which came after the political crisis in Lebanon turned violent early in May.