Russia welcomes President's election in Lebanon

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Moscow, May 26 (UNI) Russia today welcomed the President's election in Lebanon, expressing the hope that it will end the long-running political crisis in the country.

''Moscow sincerely welcomes the presidential election in Lebanon,'' the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Nesterenko, said in a statement.

''We hope that all the conditions of the Doha agreement will be fulfilled and Lebanon will emerge from a series of crisis and shocks and enjoy internal conciliation and democratic stability on a solid constitutional basis, taking into account the interests of all religious and political groups,'' Mr Nesterenko said.

''On its part, Russia will continue to support sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Lebanon, extend cooperation to the Lebanese people on the path of national reconciliation, in the interest of peace in this unique Arab country and the West Asian region as a whole,'' he noted.

Lebanon's Parliament elected army commander General Michel Suleiman as the country's President yesterday. His candidacy was backed by 118 out of 127 members.

All of Lebanon's warring political leaders earlier agreed to vote for Gen Suleiman under a deal brokered in Qatar last Wednesday to end a 19-month political crisis, which has led to the worst violence since 1990.

The deal struck in Qatar also called for the formation of a national unity government, in which the opposition will have the power of veto.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Mikhail Margelov, chairman of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of Parliament, said a new Lebanese government is unlikely to avoid disagreements.

''The views of the ruling coalition and Hezbollah on Lebanon's political course and future differ,'' Mr Margelov told RIA Novosti.

Lebanon's political stalemate began in 2006 when pro-Syrian ministers quit the cabinet of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora during a power struggle.

The US-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition spent over a year deadlocked and unable to elect a President.

UNI XC SKB KN1617

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