'Lebanese army chief will retire early'

Lebanon's army chief and consensus presidential candidate Michel Sleiman said in an interview published on Thursday that he doubts the country's political crisis will be resolved.

'Lebanese army chief will retire early'
"Every time we take one step forward we find ourselves facing another series of steps that need to be taken before electing a president," Michel Sleiman told the opposition leftist daily As-Safir.

"This leaves us with a mountain of contradictory conditions that must be met if a new president is to be elected."

Sleiman added that he would step aside as army chief on August 21.

Suleiman, appointed commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces in 1998, was due to retire in November 2008.

The country's protracted political crisis has left it without a president since last November 24 when the mandate of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud expired.

Lebanon's pro-government majority agreed to Sleiman's candidacy after months of opposing it.

The opposition also backed his candidacy but then refused to take part in the vote as they sought assurances about their representation in a new government line-up.

Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2008, 08:47
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