Monday, May 26, 2008

Michel Suleiman new Lebanese president.

This is from BBC.

The Doha agreement whose main terms are listed below finally unlocked the logjam that blocked any settlement of the political deadlock in Lebanon. Although the West may be very unhappy that Hezbollah gets a veto, the Western backed government still has power and a majority in cabinet. Of course if the two sides insist on continual fighting the system will not work but at least it is better than civil war and worth a try.




First tasks for Lebanon president
Lebanon's new President, Michel Suleiman, has arrived at the presidential palace to begin his first full day in office.
His first official visitor is expected to be Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
Mr Suleiman will then begin consultations about forming a new national unity government.
His appointment came after months of political division which exploded into bloody clashes earlier this month.
Mr Suleiman has been head of the army for the past nine years. The presidency has been vacant since November.
He is expected to appoint a prime minister from the parliamentary majority led by the pro-Western leader, Saad al-Hariri - but a recent reconciliation agreement will give a powerful role in the cabinet to the Hezbollah movement and other allies of Syria and Iran.
Military bands played Lebanon's national anthem at the Baabda palace in the hills overlooking southern Beirut.
As he walked down a red carpet past a guard of honour, Mr Suleiman was greeted with a 21-gun salute, while dozens of presidential staff applauded.
Huge relief
As he was sworn in on Sunday, the president called for a "new phase", and a "quiet dialogue" on some of Lebanon's thorniest issues, including the role of Hezbollah as an armed movement.
DOHA AGREEMENT
Western-backed ruling majority to get 16 cabinet seats and choose prime minister
Syrian-backed opposition to get 11 cabinet seats and veto power
Three cabinet seats to be nominated by president
The use of weapons in internal conflicts is to be banned
Opposition protest camps in central Beirut are to be removed
New law to divide country into smaller electoral districts
"Let us unite... and work towards a solid reconciliation," Gen Suleiman said.
"We have paid dearly for our national unity. Let us preserve it hand-in-hand."
The BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut says it was a huge relief for many Lebanese to find themselves with a new president at last, after 19 failed attempts to elect a head of state.
But, he adds, Gen Suleiman comes into office with his wings somewhat clipped, after his army was humiliated by having to stand by while Hezbollah burned newspaper offices and nearly stirred up civil war in the violence which broke out two weeks ago.
At least 65 people died in clashes as Hezbollah fighters seized control of sections of Beirut in response to government attempts to outlaw the group's private telephone network and reassign Beirut airport's security chief, who is close to the opposition.
For months, Gen Suleiman had been accepted by all sides as the only candidate to succeed outgoing pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, but disagreements had repeatedly prevented a parliamentary vote to appoint him.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/

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