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    Russia backs Arab League plan for Lebanon

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    The immediate election of a president in Lebanon in accordance with the Arab League plan will help the country overcome its ongoing political crisis, Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - The immediate election of a president in Lebanon in accordance with the Arab League plan will help the country overcome its ongoing political crisis, Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

    Lebanon has witnessed a protracted political crisis as its parliament has been unable to elect a president since November 23 over disputes between the ruling majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

    "A way out of the acute political crisis in Lebanon lies through the restoration of national accord and finding a compromise solution, taking into account the interests of all political and collective forces," Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting with Walid Jumblatt, a leader of the Lebanese parliamentary majority, currently on a visit to Moscow.

    Lavrov said any foreign interference in Lebanon's internal affairs was unacceptable.

    Jumblatt said he supports Russia's initiative to convene a peace conference on the Middle East.

    The 22-nation Arab League has proposed speedy presidential elections, the formation of a national unity government and new legislation regulating elections and governmental appointments.

    Its plan calls for Lebanon's army chief, Gen. Michel Suleiman, to become the country's next president.

    "The ministers welcome favorably the consensus around Michel Suleiman as a candidate for the presidency and call for his immediate election," Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said after a recent consultative meeting of Arab League ministers in Cairo.

    Arab foreign ministers also discussed the possibility of offering "reciprocal guarantees and assurances" to rival Lebanese factions to help build trust between them, including over the national unity government.

    "If blood spills over into the streets, chaos will prevail and there will be different positions and many forces will interfere," Moussa told reporters. He said all suggestions within the Arab initiative will be discussed, including an opposition-proposed 10+10+10 three-way distribution of Cabinet posts between the majority, the opposition and Suleiman.

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