Pope calls for Lebanon unity over new president

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VATICAN CITY, Nov 11 (Reuters) Pope Benedict urged Lebanon's rival leaders to unite behind a common presidential candidate who can represent all people in the divided country.

Yesterday, Lebanon's parliament postponed a presidential election from November 12 to November 21 in a bid to break a deadlock over a consensus candidate and end a political crisis that is threatening the stability of the country.

The Pope said at his weekly Angelus blessing that he shared concerns expressed by Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and ''his vow that all Lebanese will feel represented by the new president''.

He called on all parties to set aside personal interests and work for the common good.

Lebanon's political crisis pits the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora against the opposition led by Syrian-backed Hezbollah.

The new president should be a Maronite in line with Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system but Maronite leaders are fiercely divided over the election.

Reuters SBC DB2144

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