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Functioning presidency needed to tackle challenges: U.S. envoy

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives U.S. ambassador to Lebanon David Hale in Beirut, Monday, May 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: The U.S. ambassador Monday urged Lebanon’s leaders to conduct the presidential election on time and in accordance with the Constitution.

“Our aim is to help the Lebanese protect the electoral process, not to pre-determine the outcome,” David Hale told reporters following talks with Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter’s residence in Ain al-Tineh.

“I believe that the vast majority of the Lebanese people want their country to be peaceful and stable, and meeting its international obligations.

Hale noted that the international community wanted to help in that regard, and with the many challenges that the Lebanese face.

“Success will not be possible without Lebanese leaders who are committed to those goals and who are partners in that effort,” the diplomat said.

Hale highlighted that it will take “a functioning presidency, parliament, and cabinet to tackle these and other challenges, and to avoid the price of gaps and paralysis.”

“We believe it is still within the capacity of Lebanon’s leaders to achieve these goals, including the timely election of a president,” he added.

Hale also held separate talks with President Michel Sleiman, whose term ends May 25.

There have been four botched attempts to elect a successor to Sleiman so far, and with no agreement in the offing on a consensus candidate, a voting session set for Thursday is also likely to fail.

 

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