No progress in Lebanon unity effort

Arab League chief urges rival Lebanese leaders to avoid escalation of tensions.

    Talks supervised by Moussa have failed to break the political deadlock [AFP]

    Moussa said the Arab League initiative had produced "a framework for understanding on sticking points.

     

    "Therefore, solutions are there and the road is clear."

     

    He urged rival factions to resume talks.

     

    Crisis

     

    The present crisis began when six pro-Hezbollah cabinet ministers resigned last month after Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, rejected their call for a government of national unity.

     

    Hezbollah supporters have staged protests against Siniora's government, with ongoing sit-ins a few metres from Sinoria's Beirut office as part of their effort to force him to resign.

     

    "We have a president who acts alone on the basis that the government is illegitimate and we have a cabinet that claims in turn that the president has no legitimacy … It's a mess unprecedented in Lebanese history"

     

    Nasrallah Sfeir,
    Maronite Christian patriarch

    Hezbollah and its allies Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) are currently demanding the aforementioned national unity government which would give them veto power over major government decisions.

     

    However, Siniora and his anti-Syrian supporters reject Hezbollah's demands, calling the campaign and protests since a Syria-backed coup.

     

    While the Hezbollah-led opposition challenges Siniora's government, the latter disputes the legitimacy of Emile Lahoud, the Lebanese president.

     

    Lahoud's mandate was extended until 2007 by a Syrian-inspired constitutional amendment in 2004, when Damascus had a solid presence in Lebanon.

     

    Nasrallah Sfeir, the Maronite Christian patriarch, said in a Christmas message: "The anarchy gripping state institutions is without precedent.

     

    "We have a president who acts alone on the basis that the government is illegitimate and we have a cabinet that claims in turn that the president has no legitimacy ... . It's a mess unprecedented in Lebanese history."

     

    Holiday break

     

    Shortly after Moussa left Beirut for Cairo, hundreds of opposition supporters shouted "Siniora, get out" and waved Lebanese flags a few metres from the prime minister's office.

     

    Earlier, Moussa stressed that a lack of contacts between pro and anti-Syrian Lebanese factions was preventing a lasting solution to political and sectarian tensions in the country.

     

    He said: "Contacts among various leaders are nonexistent, something that makes reaching an understanding very difficult."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.