BEIRUT: British Ambassador Tom Fletcher Monday highlighted that the continuity of state institutions was vital in light of the presidential vacuum Lebanon has found itself in after lawmakers failed to elect a new head of state .
Following talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam the diplomat called on Lebanese leaders to find compromise and put the national interest first to respond to the challenges facing the country.
"President [Michel] Sleiman led Lebanon through six turbulent years with great wisdom and dedication, never ceasing to promote dialogue and compromise," Fletcher told reporters.
"We hope now that Lebanese leaders will show that same spirit, putting aside factional interests to respond to the challenges facing the country, as they did in the formation of Salam’s government," he added. "Continuity of state institutions is vital."
Fletcher maintained that while the opportunity to choose a President on time has been missed, the opportunity to choose a President ‘Made in Lebanon’ remains. "There is no magic international fix,"he continued. "It is a dangerous illusion to pretend that there is."
For the Bristish envoy, Lebanon needs a President to take this country forward.
"[Lebanon needs a president] to provide the balance its institutions require, to confront massive humanitarian, economic and political challenges and to lead much needed dialogue," he said. "Lebanon needs a President chosen because of what he or she can offer the country, not what they offer regional or local allies."
According to Fletcher, the international community needs a President, too, "as a partner for the support we want to give for stability."
"As we enter this new phase, the UK will continue to help to build the Lebanon that its talented and resilient people deserve." he said.
"We are in a new phase, but Lebanon has come through tough times before," Fletcher added. "With the right spirit of responsibility and compromise Lebanon can come through this."