Lebanese president vows to stay in office

March 19, 2006 01:40

Lebanon's pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, under heavy pressure from anti-Syrian groups to step down, vowed on Saturday to stay in office until the end of his extended term but proposed early parliamentary elections as a way out of the presidential stalemate. Lahoud also rejected calls by some anti-Syrian leaders for Hezbollah to disarm in line with a 2004 UN resolution, stressing that the anti-Israeli militant guerrilla group should keep its weapons until a peace settlement is reached for the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lahoud's remarks came as leaders of Lebanon's rival factions are in the midst of a dialogue on the president's fate and Hezbollah's disarmament. Also, UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen began talks in Saudi Arabia Saturday as part of a regional tour that will also take him to Lebanon to push for the implementation of UN Resolution 1559, which calls for Hezbollah and Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon to disarm.

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