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Parliament session to elect Lebanese president postponed again as Arab League mediation fails - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa (R) gives a press conference after his meeting with the Lebanese rival political leaders in Beirut, Lebanon, 25 February 2008 (EPA)

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa (R) gives a press conference after his meeting with the Lebanese rival political leaders in Beirut, Lebanon, 25 February 2008 (EPA)

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – A Lebanese parliament session called for Tuesday to elect the country’s president was again postponed, the fifteenth such delay in three months, after Arab League mediation between rival leaders failed to break a standing impasse.

Pro-Western majority and opposition politicians have held two rounds of talks since the weekend, mediated by League chief Amr Moussa, but failed to resolve their differences. This in turn, held up a quorum for the parliament to convene and start voting.

The assembly was to meet to elect Army Commander Michel Suleiman as president. His selection is the single issue the U.S.-backed anti-Syrian majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition agree on.

The sides are at odds over power-sharing in a future Cabinet, with the opposition demanding veto power and the majority rejecting this. Officials said the next parliament session was scheduled for March 11.

Moussa, who brought together the Lebanese rivals for the latest talks, told reporters Monday that they agreed on a “large number of points” but made no breakthroughs on the contentious issue of the division of seats in the future government, which is to come after the presidential vote.

Leaving Lebanon, Moussa didn’t say whether he would mediate in more talks in the near future.

The Lebanese presidential deadlock since President Emile Lahoud’s term ended in November without a successor has compounded a 15-month political crisis, which has sporadically dissolved into street violence. It has also cast doubts on an upcoming Arab summit in Syria, which supports the Hezbollah-led opposition. The Lebanese majority accuse Damascus of undermining any possible deal in the country’s crisis, charges which Syria denies.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa (R) arrives for a meeting with Christian leader in the Syrian-backed opposition Nabih Berri in Beirut, February 25, 2008 (AFP)

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa (R) arrives for a meeting with Christian leader in the Syrian-backed opposition Nabih Berri in Beirut, February 25, 2008 (AFP)

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa speaks with parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri in Beirut, February 24, 2008 (AFP)

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa speaks with parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri in Beirut, February 24, 2008 (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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