France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Thursday urged rival Lebanese factions to work together to elect a president.
The appeal came ahead of key parliament session September 25, when lawmakers are to start voting on a new head of state. Failing to elect a president to replace Emile Lahoud, whose term ends November 24, could throw the country into chaos and even result in two parallel, competing administrations.
"I am not asking all of you to love each other, although that would be better ... but I am asking you to reach enough agreement," Kouchner said in Beirut, addressing the Lebanese.
France, as other countries and Arab League nations, has tried to mediate between the camps to overcome a 10-month-old political crisis, decide on a president and prevent a possible breakdown of state institutions. Kouchner visited politicians from both camps Thursday.