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Arab League initiative for Lebanon only 'serious' one: Seniora - Daily News Egypt

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Arab League initiative for Lebanon only 'serious' one: Seniora

CAIRO: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora said Saturday that an Arab League initiative aimed at resolving the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon was the only serious one. It is the only serious initiative that currently exists, Seniora told reporters after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. We must continue to encourage this …


CAIRO: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora said Saturday that an Arab League initiative aimed at resolving the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon was the only serious one.

It is the only serious initiative that currently exists, Seniora told reporters after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

We must continue to encourage this initiative, he said, adding that the League s Secretary General Amr Moussa was ready to travel again to Lebanon to help move the plan forward.

With a political crisis in Lebanon escalating, Moussa tried last month to mediate between the parliamentary majority, which rejects Syrian involvement in Lebanon, and the Syrian- and Iranian-backed opposition.

But the mediation efforts did not stem the crisis.

The opposition, led by Shiite group Hezbollah, has staged a sit-in outside the government s main offices in central Beirut since Dec.1 in its campaign to replace the Seniora government with one in which it would have a minority veto.

Seniora is due to meet Moussa in Cairo on Tuesday, Moussa s chief of staff Hisham Yussef said. The two were due to hold talks in the Egyptian capital on Saturday but the meeting was postponed due to scheduling problems.

Seniora s visit to Egypt is part of a regional tour ahead of a conference in Paris on January 25 to raise economic aid for Lebanon.

The donor conference is expected to be attended by Western countries and oil-rich Arab states which back Seniora s government and its elected anti-Syrian parliamentary majority.

Last week, the French foreign minister called on Lebanese political factions to end their confrontation ahead of an international donors conference, saying during his brief Mideast visit Saturday that stability was key to restoring the country s struggling economy.

Egypt and France agree on the ways to achieve this, Douste-Blazy said, listing mediation efforts by the Arab League as the way to promote a political solution to the standoff and prevent any attempts to destabilize Lebanon.

Lebanon has been shaken by mass street protests since Dec. 1, after Hezbollah and allied Cabinet ministers quit the government.

We want Lebanon to overcome its current turmoil, he said in a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit.

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