Words of wisdom

Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, right, meets with Secretary of State John Kerry in Beirut, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Wednesday’s previously unannounced visit to Beirut by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was significant on several levels.

Washington’s chief diplomat arrived in a country reeling under the weight of the war in Syria and pledged his administration’s support for the security and stability of Lebanon as it grapples with a political stalemate that has prevented the election of a new president.

But Kerry sounded a more serious note, namely that MPs should take responsibility for the lack of a president and rectify this as quickly as possible, so that the executive and legislative branches can get down to the business of seeing the state function normally.

The unstated message here is that there is no hope of seeing true, long-term stability and development until this stalemate comes to an end, and the quicker the better.

Despite these notes of alarm, Kerry also pledged an increase in aid to help Lebanon and other countries shoulder the burden of the Syria refugee crisis, meaning Washington has recognized the huge challenge that Beirut is grappling with.

Coming one day after the re-election of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Kerry’s timing was significant and so was his message.

Lebanese politicians should recognize and embrace the importance of Kerry’s show of support, and build on it to overcome the impasse over the presidential election. If they needed any proof that electing a head of state is a vital matter that can’t be strung out indefinitely, Kerry’s brief – but weighty – words should settle the matter.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 05, 2014, on page 7.




Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here