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The ambassadors of the Quint Committee for Lebanon have underscored the urgency of electing a president of the republic “today,” independently of the developments in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in cross-border attacks for more than three months.

An informed source speaking to This is Beirut on condition of anonymity said that the ambassadors of the United States, Lisa Johnson, France’s Hervé Magro, Saudi Arabia’s Walid Al-Bukhari, Qatar’s Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, and Egypt’s Alaa Moussa, have insisted in their meeting on Tuesday with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on the importance of electing a president “regardless of what is going on” in the region.

“It was a firm and unified position on the part of the five countries, which, although it took into account the regional dimension of the Lebanese issue, underscored that the election of a president of the republic in Lebanon is a matter of urgency for domestic and local reasons.”

The message was, “Lebanon must have a president today before tomorrow.”

Although Hezbollah has reportedly made it clear that the presidential election is not a priority at the moment, in light of its military engagement on the southern border, the Quintet will not give up its diplomatic efforts aimed at seeking exits for the presidential crisis.

“Hezbollah’s position is clear, but that doesn’t mean that international diplomacy will stop trying to move things forward. It’s not because of this declaration that the five-nation group is going to pack and go home,” the source said.

He stressed that in the absence of any constitutional or mechanism problem, the “political obstacle” to the presidential election can be removed if there is real goodwill on the part of all parties.

“The important thing is to get the train moving, and no one will hesitate to get on it.”

The source pointed out that the ambassadors refrained from mentioning any specific names for the presidency, but said Lebanon “eventually may have to think about a third way,” in reference to a third candidate other than the two proposed by the opposite camps.

Furthermore, the source underlined Berri’s “very positive” and “welcoming” response to the quintet’s position.

According to the source, Berri may have been waiting for this diplomatic push to “propose something internally.”

“One can hope that such a push could be a prelude to a new dynamic to be initiated by the speaker of the parliament,” the source added.

Following the one-hour meeting with the ambassadors, Berri stated that “their stance was unified, and the meeting was beneficial and promising.”

For his part, the French ambassador declared that they “will soon meet with political officials in Lebanon” to follow up on the quintet’s endeavor.

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