Iran supports what Lebanese agree on: envoy

October 28, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iran’s ambassador to Beirut reiterated on Friday that Tehran will support what the rival Lebanese groups agree on electing a president, a Lebanese newspaper reported on Saturday.

“Iran will support what the Lebanese nation and political officials agree on,” Mohammadreza Sheibani told former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel as quoted by the Al-Akhbar newspaper.
Sheibani said Iran has repeatedly thrown its might behind the initiatives put forward by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir for resolving disputes over electing a president.
The Iranian envoy also thanked Gemayel for his positive efforts in brokering a deal on Lebanon’s rival groups.
He also suggested involving all political leaders in the ongoing talks.
Gemayel meets Hezbollah envoy
Gemayel discussed with a Hezbollah envoy ways to ""settle the ongoing political crisis,"" a statement said Saturday.
The statement, issued by Gemayel's office, said the meeting took place Friday evening at the ex-president's residence in Sin el-Feel with Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah.
The two-hour meeting included an assessment of the relations between Gemayel and Hezbollah, the statement said as posted on Naharnet website.
The two ""insisted on the consensus atmosphere to achieve presidential elections and the need to support the initiatives of Parliament Speaker and Nabih Berri.""
Gemayel said: ""The only exit out of the impasse goes through the election of a new president with wide participation"" by the various factions.
Fadlallah was quoted as expressing support for ""consensus efforts exerted by ex-president Gemayel.""
Lebanon delayed its presidential election by nearly three weeks to November 12 on Monday to allow more time for rival groups to agree on a compromise candidate.
The Lebanese parliament had been scheduled to meet on Tuesday (Oct. 23) to choose a successor to President Emile Lahoud, whose term expires on November 23.
Berri said in a statement that he was postponing the vote ""to allow for more consultations that would lead to consensus on electing a president who would symbolize the unity and resilience of the country.""
It is the second postponement in electing a president. Political sources said the delay was a positive signal that the two sides were still hopeful of reaching a compromise to ensure a smooth transition.
Berri and parliament majority leader Saad Hariri met last week as part of efforts aimed at resolving the presidential election crisis.
A statement released by Hariri's office said the meeting was devoted to assessing the outcome of a visit to Beirut by the foreign ministers of France, Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Both Berri and Hariri insisted on the need to facilitate holding of the presidential elections, according to a statement.
Meanwhile the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has warned that it would be dangerous if the Lebanese factions fail to reach a consensus on electing a president until November 24.
A failure to elect a president at the “legal times would pose a great danger for Lebanon’s stability,” said Moussa told Al-Akhbar newspaper