Aljazeera's correspondent in Beirut reported that the Lebanese follow-up committee affiliated to the pro-government Ain-al-Tina, held a meeting headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Barri on Thursday.

 

In a statement, the meeting called for reviving national dialogue and beginning consultations to form a national unity government to include all sections of the Lebanese political spectrum, Aljazeera learned.

 

Political sources said Syrian-backed Lebanese officials were waiting for the results of direct contacts between Damascus, which is under increasing pressure to quit Lebanon, and several Arab countries before deciding on the shape of the new cabinet.

 

Huge protests

   

Opposition protests have put
pressure on the Lebanese pound

The pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Umar Karami was forced to quit this week after huge protests in Beirut, leaving officials with a complex search for a new head of government.

 

"The shortest and most effective routes for national dialogue are ... the formation of a national unity government that includes the various political trends in the country," the

meeting of loyalist groups said in the statement. 

 

It also blamed opposition protests for pressure on the Lebanese pound in the local market that has forced the central bank to sell hundreds of millions of dollars to keep it stable.

 

Opposition demand

 

The opposition on Wednesday demanded Syrian troops and intelligence agents leave their country and Syrian-backed Lebanese security chiefs resign.

   

"The delay in the formation of the new government is because officials are waiting for a green light from Syria..."

Political source

It said pro-Syrian President Emile Lahud must accept the demands before it would join any discussions on forming a new government, whose members should not be candidates at a general election in May.

   

The opposition said it wanted Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to issue the pullout order personally.

   

There was no comment from Damascus, Lahud or loyalists to the demands. Lahud has not yet set a date for consultations with parliamentary deputies, a compulsory step before naming a prime minister-designate.

   

"The delay in the formation of the new government is because officials are waiting for a green light from Syria as a result of its understanding with Arab sides," a political source familiar with the deliberations in Beirut said.