U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Lebanese leaders to exert urgent efforts to put an end to the ongoing presidential vacuum, in a letter he sent to Prime Minister Tammam Salam on the occasion of Lebanon's Independence Day.
“For the sake of Lebanon's stability and security, now is the time for Lebanese leaders to act in the national interest and elect a president,” said Obama in the letter that was distributed by the U.S. embassy on Tuesday.
“It is with regret ... that I note this is the second consecutive National Independence Day without an elected President of the Lebanese Republic,” he said.
Obama also extended his “deepest condolences” over the deadly Bourj al-Barajneh bombings.
“This horrific attack highlights the critical challenges you face and why the United States will continue to support Lebanon's state security institutions,” he said.
“The United States has long supported Lebanon in its quest to achieve full sovereignty, security, and independence. Our countries' close ties are never more apparent than when Lebanon is in need, as it is now, due to the spillover effects from the Syria conflict,” the U.S. leader added.
He stressed that Washington remains “committed to Lebanon's stability” as demonstrated by its “unwavering support and assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces,” as well as its “ongoing humanitarian and development assistance.”
“We are proud to be your partner in addressing Lebanon's security, humanitarian, and development challenges, and we will remain by your side in these endeavors,” Obama added.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.
Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate have thwarted the polls.