Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lebanon majority backs army chief for president

by Rana Moussaoui from Middle East Online (UK)

Lebanon's Western-backed governing majority announced on Sunday that it would accept army chief General Michel Sleiman as a compromise candidate for the vacant presidency, clearing the way to an end to a year-old stand-off with the opposition ... The support for Sleiman from all sides -- albeit with some conditions -- finally raises the prospect of an end to Lebanon's protracted political crisis which has dragged on since six pro-Syrian ministers quit the cabinet in November last year. The standoff has been widely seen as a reflection of the broader conflict between the two sides' foreign sponsors -- the US and its main Arab ally Saudi Arabia in the case of the government and Syria and its regional ally Iran in the case of the opposition ... Sleiman, 59, has served as army chief since 1998. His original appointment came at a time when neighbouring Syria still dominated Lebanese affairs and some have accused him of being a Damascus ally. But through the year-long crisis gripping Lebanon he has remained neutral and repeatedly called on the army to keep out of politics.

No comments: