Nasrallah, Maronite patriarch delegate meet, discuss presidency file
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah receives a delegate from the Maronite patriarch to discuss the presidential file in the country.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah received Sunday the envoy of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, Archbishop Paul Abdel Sater, for consultations on the presidential file in Lebanon.
According to local media, Abdel Sater informed Sayyed Nasrallah during the meeting about what the Patriarch had heard regarding the necessity of dialogue with non-Christian forces, particularly Hezbollah, to elect a president who would serve all of Lebanon.
Hezbollah is expected to issue a statement regarding the meeting between Sayyed Nasrallah and Patriarch Al-Rahi's envoy, which was described as positive.
"Archbishop Abdel Sater will continue his tour of all political forces, starting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri," Lebanese media said.
Meanwhile, upon his return from Paris, Patriarch al-Rahi met separately with former minister Suleiman Frangieh and the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil. However, he did not have the opportunity to meet with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea due to security reasons, according to local media reports.
Bassil declared Saturday his movement's support for former Finance Minister Jihad Azour as President. Hezbollah had previously announced its support for Suleiman Frangieh for the presidency.
Berri had underlined Thursday that "the doors of the Parliament are not and will never be closed for a session to elect a president," stating that if "at least two serious nominees are named for the presidency, the doors to Parliament will be wide open."
Berri considered earlier that a political solution in Lebanon begins with electing a president for the republic, pointing out that Suleiman Franjieh extended his hand to all parties.
"We want a president who is able to address the defense strategy and believes in the Taif Agreement," and one who talks with Syria about border demarcation and the refugee crisis since the Europeans and Americans are "indifferent about the matter," he said.
On his part, MP Jamil Al-Sayyed said on Twitter that "after Jihad Azour's odds increased, there are threats of US sanctions against Berri if he does not call for a parliamentary session to elect a president."
"Days ago, threats were made by Geagea, [MP] Gemayel, and others that if Frangieh's odds were high, they would withdraw from the session, making the number of attending MPs less than 86, and the session would be disrupted according to the constitution."
This comes after the United States threatened to impose sanctions on officials who obstruct the electoral process through US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told reporters before meeting with Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi earlier that "Lebanon's spring is near, God willing, with the blessings of Patriarch Al-Rahi."