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Syria says working to end political crisis in Lebanon
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08:14, January 10, 2008

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Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal said on Wednesday that his country was working to end crisis in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Bilal told a press conference here that Syria endeavored to end the political crisis in Lebanon through consensus on a comprehensive package among all the Lebanese sides.

Syria sought to put an end to the Lebanese crisis through electing a consensus president, forming a national unity government and formulating a new election law, which constituted a full package in the Arab foreign ministers' recent statement, the official added.

The bases of such a statement were included in the envisaged solution reached by Syria and France, Bilal noted.

He added that Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa was going to explain all points of this statement during his ongoing visit to Beirut.

Meanwhile, Bilal said diplomatic ties between Syria and France are vital and are continuing between the two countries.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem announced a week ago that his country has decided to suspend contacts with Paris on the Lebanese political crisis, three days after a similar comment from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Lebanon has been without a president since Nov. 23 when former President Emile Lahoud stepped down without a successor and the sharply divided Lebanese parliament has delayed the elections for11 times.

Syria has been accused of meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon, which Syria has categorically denied.

France has been leading efforts to mediate a settlement between the Western-backed governing coalition and the opposition, led by groups with close ties to Damascus.


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