BEIRUT: U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized his desire to see the Lebanese presidential election held on time and free of foreign meddling in a phone call with Prime Minister Tammam Salam Friday.
According to Salam's office, Obama contacted the PM to congratulate him on the “achievement” of forming a national coalition government, and to wish him luck in his endeavor.
"Obama stressed to Salam the importance of holding the presidential election within the Constitutional deadline and without any foreign interference,” Salam’s office said.
President Michel Sleiman's six-year term ends on May 25 but there are no clear candidates for the country's highest Christian post.
Speaker Nabih Berri said Thursday he would begin consultations with heads of parliamentary blocs next week to secure a quorum for a Parliamentary session to elect a new president.
During his chat with Salam, Obama also stressed the importance of national unity and the need to strengthen the policy of disassociation, as well as Washington’s continued support for Lebanon.
In return, Salam expressed gratitude for the president's support and said Lebanon would preserve its democratic path.
Salam’s government won Parliament’s vote of confidence Thursday after several weeks of struggle over the Cabinet policy statement.