Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Envoy to Lebanon: “Presidency must return to a Maronite Christian president as soon as possible”. | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri has reaffirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat his commitment to Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfayr’s list and accord as an approach to resolving the presidential crisis.

While, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Abdulaziz Khoja told Asharq Al-Awsat that the current situation “does not serve any of the parties,” stressing that “the presidency must return to a Maronite Christian president as soon as possible.”

Speaker Birri expressed hope a solution could be reached soon and warned that failing to expedite a solution would further complicate the situation. Ambassador Khoja said: “The international community was hoping the presidential election would take place on time, however, the manner in which President Emil Lahhud’s presidency ended, the transfer of power to the government in the interim according to the constitution until a new president is elected, the cooperation of the Army and its excellent command as well as the Interior Ministry, the security forces, and preparedness for this moment, has made this possible, praise to God.”

The Saudi ambassador praised the meeting with Army Commander General Michel Sulayman by saying: “We have known him to be wise, completely responsible, and to coordinate with the prime minister to maintain security, which his a great responsibility.” Khoja also stressed “the need to hold presidential election as soon as possible since time is not on the side of Lebanon’s general interests.”

He added: “When elections take place, the situation will return to normal in terms of the three leading positions. This will thus reflect on the whole situation, leading to security and prosperity and Lebanon will be able to return to normal. Christian and Muslims holidays are coming up as well as the high tourism season that the country and economy could benefit from.”

Khoja expressed confidence that the issue “will end by electing a new president as soon as possible” and warned that “vacuum does not serve any interests.” He added that the presidency must return to a Maronite Christian and warned against “allowing this interim stage to last long.”

Citing Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, he said “the current situation must not continue,” adding that “nobody can take the president’s place. It is merely a temporary role in accordance with the constitution so as not to leave the country in a vacuum.” He also cited Siniora as saying he wished to end this reality “as soon as possible.”

Khawjah noted that “Islamic-Christian pluralism is what gives Lebanon its beauty.”