Mikati meets Quintet ambassadors at the Grand Serail


Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati met Friday with the ambassadors of the five-nation group at the Grand Serail.

Egyptian Ambassador Alaa Moussa, U.S. ambassador Lisa Johnson, French Ambassador Herve Magro, Saudi Ambassador Walid al-Bukhari, and Qatari Ambassador Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani discussed the Lebanese presidential impasse with Mikati.

Egypt's Ambassador Moussa said after the meeting that the Quintet's ambassadors are unified and willing to help the Lebanese end their presidential crisis but that the group does not discuss or suggest names.

"The name of the president must come from within Lebanon, not from the Quintet," Moussa said.

He added that the presidential election must be separated from the war on Gaza, as cross-border clashes on the Lebanese-Israeli border escalated in recent days.

Crisis-hit Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term ended in October last year, with neither of the two main blocs -- Hezbollah and its opponents -- having the majority required to elect one.

The international community and the five-nation group have long urged Lebanese leaders to end months of political wrangling and stem the financial meltdown.

Since October 8, the day after the Israeli war on Gaza erupted, Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli army, stoking fears of an all-out war.

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