BEIRUT

Lebanon News

U.S. denies making deal to end presidential void

US ambassador to Lebanon David Hale attends a meeting in Beirut, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon Saturday denied that ambassador David Hale tried to strike a deal with Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun to end the presidential stalemate, saying it was up for the Lebanese to choose their own president.

“Rumors that ... [Ambassador Hale] made proposals or deals for the #Lebanese presidency are false,” the embassy said on its Twitter feed.

“The #US has not and will not propose candidates for the #Lebanese presidency,” it added.

Political sources told The Daily Star Friday that Hale proposed a deal to Aoun in which MP Robert Ghanem or Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb would run for the presidency instead of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

As part of the deal, Aoun’s son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, would be given the Batroun parliamentary seat uncontested and Brig. Shamel Roukoz, his other son-in-law, would be made Army commander.

Aoun’s share of seats in the Cabinet would also be increased, the sources said, adding that the former Army general rejected the proposal.

The U.S. Embassy said that it was for the Lebanese to choose their own president, urging they do so “as soon as possible.”

Lebanon plunged into a presidential vacuum on May 25 after former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended without a successor, with no candidate able to garner needed majority to win the election.

 

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