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Lebanon News

Russia for consensual solution to end Lebanon Cabinet crisis

Russia's Ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, left, shakes hands with MP Farid al-Khazen on Monday, March 25, 2013. (The Daily Star/HO)

BEIRUT: Russia's Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin encouraged Monday politicians to reach a consensual solution to the current government crisis in the country.

“As an external party, we consider Lebanon's stability and security a top priority and we of course do not interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon so we do not have any draft electoral law or any other opinion on forming the government,” Zasypkin told reporters after talks with MP Farid Khazen.

“However, we firmly stand in support of consensual solutions for the problems at hand and for agreements to overcome disputes. And we will continue in this approach and we hope that the Lebanese political forces find a solution,” he added.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced his government’s resignation late last week after Cabinet members failed to agree on forming an elections committee to oversee the upcoming polls as well as extending the mandate of Police Chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi.

President Michel Sleiman, who officially received Mikati’s resignation letter Saturday, is expected to launch binding consultations for parliamentary blocs to name their prime minister-designate who would then form a new Cabinet.

Asked whether the collapse of the government would plunge the country into paralysis, Zasypkin said: "Superficially, yes. But this is a caretaker government and there is no [real] paralysis.”

He added that the resignation of the government “created a new political situation in Lebanon and it’s important to know how things will develop in terms of consultations between political forces to find compromises as soon as possible and political forces should choose a path in search of solutions and we will encourage any consensus.”

Commenting on the stance of some foreign ambassadors including U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly, who has stressed the need for holding the polls on time even under the current law, which is opposed by most parties in the country, Zasypkin said that remarks of this kind could be seen as form of interference in Lebanon’s affairs.

“There are specificities to the situation in Lebanon and in some cases there is a focus on holding the elections on June 9, regardless of the outcome of the consultations, which would be translated into a stance in support for the 1960 law as opposed to other proposals,” the Russian official said.

“We consider that such advice or stance doesn't lead to positive results because some forces don't listen to such advice and consider it intervening [in Lebanon's affairs]. Therefore, the stances of foreign elements should be principled and not interfere in the details,” he added.

 

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