Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa took sides in a long-running Lebanese argument on Wednesday, saying that President Emile Lahoud should remain in office until his term ends in November 2007.
His statement is expected to draw fire from the anti-Syrian majority in parliament, which has been calling on Lahoud, a staunch Syrian ally, to resign for more than a year.
Moussa endorsed Lahoud's staying in office when he spoke to reporters after meeting the president as part of attempts to mediate an end to the political crisis in Lebanon.
"The president has a term which must be completed. With regard to the (election) of a new president, this issue is part of a time frame. There should be consultations and consensus on the next president at a later stage," Moussa said.