Following his meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Ambassador Tom Fletcher said:
‘President Sleiman led Lebanon through six turbulent years with great wisdom and dedication, never ceasing to promote dialogue and compromise.
We hope now that Lebanese leaders will show that same spirit, putting aside factional interests to respond to the challenges facing the country, as they did in the formation of PM Salam’s government. Continuity of state institutions is vital.
The opportunity to choose a President on time has been missed. But the opportunity to choose a President ‘Made in Lebanon’ remains. There is no magic international fix. It is a dangerous illusion to pretend that there is.
Lebanon needs a President to take this country forward. To provide the balance its institutions require. To confront massive humanitarian, economic and political challenges. To lead much needed dialogue. Lebanon needs a President chosen because of what he or she can offer the country, not what they offer regional or local allies.
The international community needs a President too, as a partner for the support we want to give for stability. As we enter this new phase, the UK will continue to help to build the Lebanon that its talented and resilient people deserve.
We are in a new phase. But Lebanon has come through tough times before. With the right spirit of responsibility and compromise Lebanon can come through this”.