BEIRUT — The Islamic Council, Lebanon's highest Sunni body, said Saturday that the country cannot rely on foreigners to break the presidential deadlock "if the people who are supposed to find an internal solution are themselves at odds."
These remarks come as Lebanon has been without a president since the end of Michel Aoun's term in October, due to the lack of consensus on a candidate, as is customary.
At the end of a meeting, chaired by the Mufti of the Republic Abdellatif Derian, the council warned against the "dangers of delaying the election of a head of state," denouncing "the collapse and deterioration of the situation that this will cause."
"A president must be elected as soon as possible. Honoring this deadline is the responsibility of members [of parliament] and political parties," he said, adding, the Lebanese "cannot rely on foreigners if the people who are supposed to find a solution in this country are themselves in disagreement.
"Brotherly and friendly Arab countries are waiting for an agreement among Lebanese in order to provide their support and assistance," he warned. "The state cannot continue to work and enjoy stability without a president. The country risks disappearing if the current situation does not change."
Derian called on leaders to "agree on the election of a head of state and form a government to implement reforms."
"When will Lebanese politicians make concessions in the interest of the state and its citizens ..." the Council asked, "a move that is being demanded by friendly countries and Arab brothers who are watching over Lebanon-message?"The Amal Movement and Hezbollah have formalized their support for Marada movement leader Sleiman Frangieh, who is facing the veto of the main Christian groups [Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement.]
The opposition camp remains divided. During a tour of Beirut with the main political and religious figures, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari insisted that the presidential election should be the result of an internal compromise and not of external influences.