Top U.N. Official Calls for Avoiding Vacuum to Preserve Stability

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A top United Nations political official has reiterated the need for timely presidential elections in Lebanon given that the term of President Michel Suleiman expires on May 25.

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the 15-member U.N. Security Council that four rounds of parliamentary sessions have so far failed to elect a new president.

Avoiding a vacuum in the country’s top Christian post is important for the country’s stability, he said on Tuesday.

Fernandez-Taranco referred to the latest statement issued by the International Support Group for Lebanon, which includes the five permanent members of the Security Council.

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said last week that Lebanon’s friends in the international community have a keen interest in the successful completion of the elections, on time and in accordance with the Constitution.

He said he discussed the matter with the International Support Group for Lebanon, which agreed that a “vacancy in the presidency should be avoided.”

The group also called for the polls to be free from foreign intervention.

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