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Christian leader says Syria blocking Lebanon deal

ICC Note

“My advice to everyone and to the Christians especially is to protect civil peace in Lebanon … which requires everyone to make concessions,”

By Nadim Ladki

Nov 21 Lebanon (Reuters) – Lebanon ‘s main anti-Syrian Christian leader accused Syria and its allies on Wednesday of blocking a deal on a new president by threatening chaos if their preferred candidate was not elected.

” Syria and its allies have shut the door on consensus despite all our efforts,” Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces group, told Reuters.

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Call For Compromise

Earlier on Wednesday one of Geagea’s anti-Syrian allies, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, urged both sides to make concessions and warned of bloodshed if there was no deal. “My advice to everyone and to the Christians especially is to protect civil peace in Lebanon … which requires everyone to make concessions,” Jumblatt told As-Safir newspaper.

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has been in Beirut since Sunday on his sixth trip since taking office in May.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Chief of Staff, Claude Gueant, met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Tuesday and Sarkozy himself spoke to Assad by telephone.

Geagea said the majority would wait for “a few hours or a few days” before electing a new head of a state on its own if there was no vote on Friday. The opposition have said such a more would plunge Lebanon into choas. (Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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