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Lebanon’s grand mufti calls for unity in meeting with Sunni MPs ahead of presidential election

BEIRUT: The Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian, warned on Saturday that Lebanon had become a failed state.

“We are rapidly heading towards no state at all, and the Arabs and the world will soon begin to ignore Lebanon’s existence because of political mismanagement at all levels,” he said.

“We have to elect a new president and MPs are tasked with electing him or creating a presidential vacuum.”

Derian had invited Sunni MPs to a meeting in Dar Al-Fatwa to discuss possible candidates.

All but three of the 27 Sunni MPs from different political streams attended the meeting, including one MP affiliated with Hezbollah, in addition to reformist and independent MPs.

Two reformist deputies, Ibrahim Mneimneh and Halima Al-Qaaqour, and the independent deputy Oussama Saad were not present.

A source in Dar Al-Fatwa said the meeting was aimed at uniting the Sunni bloc in parliament to give it a say in the presidential elections.

The bloc also aims to end any attempts to tamper with the Taif agreement and undermine its provisions regarding the Lebanese constitution, the source said.

The meeting focused on efforts to preserve national unity and meet constitutional deadlines for electing a new president and forming a government capable of implementing financial, monetary and legislative reforms, including including an economic recovery plan.

During the meeting, Derian said that the survival of nations and states depends on the effectiveness of their constitutional institutions.

The president is the protector of the constitution, and the Christian president in Lebanon is a symbol of coexistence on which the Lebanese system is based, he said.

Arabs “recognize and value the Lebanese experience” because the Lebanese president is the only Christian president in the Arab world, Derian added.

He urged MPs to encourage respect for the president’s position and help him fulfill his role at home and abroad.

Derian also said that the new president must preserve the principles of the Taif agreement, the constitution, the coexistence and the national, Arab and international legitimacy of Lebanon.

If these issues are neglected, Lebanon will be unable to maintain order, stability and its national identity, he added.

Derian stressed the need to put an end to invented sectarian and divisive clashes over powers and return to the constitutional principle of separation of powers but maintaining cooperation between them.

He called for the election of a president characterized by the personal and political qualities of a public businessman who would be ethically responsible for the mission entrusted to him.

The new president must demonstrate wisdom, national responsibility and integrity, as well as the ability to be inclusive of all Lebanese, and use his powers to help the country emerge from this crisis and prevent it. to achieve total collapse, he said.

Derian reiterated, “Either we elect a president with these qualities, or we see the regime and the state fall before our eyes.”

He also called for respect for the Prime Minister and for the help of the Prime Minister-designate in his mission.

“It is a common responsibility that falls on everyone. We look forward to forming a government as soon as possible, possibly in the next few days,” Derain said, adding that Lebanon needed a government with full powers – not an interim government – ​​under these circumstances. difficult and difficult.

Derian said Lebanon can only survive if consensus is reached. There is no salvation without unity, away from tensions, sectarian strife and incitement, he added.

Lebanon needed a president “who is not part of the problem or the cause of it”.

In a statement issued after the meeting, those present underlined the principles advocated by Dar Al-Fatwa, particularly in terms of commitment to the Taif agreement, the Arab identity of Lebanon and national unity. .

They also condemned the abuses that have harmed and still harm the foundations of national reconciliation and coexistence.

Sunni MPs stressed the need to end Lebanon’s suffering under rampant mismanagement and corruption.

“Saving Lebanon requires acknowledging the mistakes that have been made, holding accountable whoever the perpetrators are, and sincerely cooperating with the various Lebanese and Arab parties and the international community to restore the identity and stature of Lebanon,” they said.

Sunni MPs said they would work with their fellow MPs to elect a new president on the specified constitutional date.

They said the new president “must respect the constitution and be loyal to the Lebanese people and their interests”.

The statement added that Lebanon’s enemy was and still is the Israeli army, which continues to occupy parts of Lebanese territories.

He called for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions which stipulate the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and the recognition of Jerusalem as an occupied city.

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