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Lebanese crisis expected standstill
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19:21, April 14, 2008

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Lebanese current situation would probably be standstill in the coming period, local daily As Safir reported on Monday.

The Lebanese file "will probably be ignored in the coming period" and the current situation in the country would "stay until after the American presidential elections," an Arab diplomat source returning from Washington was quoted as saying.

The source revealed that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said that the American priority is "to keep Premier Fouad Seniora as head of the Lebanese government and behave within presidential prerogatives."

Rice even made it clear that the coming Lebanese parliamentary elections in 2009 is not a priority and Washington would not mind prolonging the term of the present parliament, the source said.

Before heading to Egypt on Saturday in a new Arab tour aimed at achieving internal national dialogue in Lebanon, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri criticized that "the Americans are not in a hurry to achieve a settlement."

Lebanon is currently facing the most serious political deadlock since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. For the first time in its history, the presidential seat has been vacant since Nov. 24 of 2007 when former President Emile Lahoud stepped down.

A long-awaited parliamentary session to elect a new president to succeed Lahoud has been postponed for the 17th time from March 25 to April 22.

The presidency deadlock deepened the Lebanese political crisis as fears are mounting that failure in reaching a deal on the presidential candidate could result in more violence in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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