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Riyadh calls for ‘made in Lebanon’ president

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri attends a ceremony in Beirut, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir )

BEIRUT: Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon said that his country wants a 'made in Lebanon' president and noted that the return of gulf tourists to Lebanon hinges on security in comments published Wednesday.

“The presidential election is a Lebanese affair and we do not interfere in Lebanese internal affairs. The political movement should be directed toward choosing a new president who is a purely made in Lebanon,” Asiri told Al-Mustaqbal daily.

“Consensus among the Lebanese produced a Cabinet capable of preserving Lebanon’s security; we hope to see the Lebanese choosing the right president for the next phase without [foreign] interference.”

Lebanon’s presidential election is due no later than May 25 when the six-year term of President Michel Sleiman ends.

Asiri also said that the return of gulf tourists “depends largely on the success of the security plan that the Lebanese government is implementing.”

“We hope the plan succeeds in achieving stability in Lebanon,” he said.

“Saudi citizens are observing and following up on developments in Lebanon, and they will have the final say [over visiting Lebanon],” the ambassador added.

Saudi Arabia is one of several Gulf countries that have issued a series of travel advisories over the past several years warning citizens against coming to Lebanon, citing the troubled security situation in the country.

 

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