Lebanese Presidential Candidate Chibli Mallat, who is in Washington to promote the idea of new leadership in Lebanon and to gain support for Lebanese presidential elections in February, met with Lorne Craner, President of the International Republican Institute (IRI).  While in Washington, Mallat will also speak at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Peace and the Heritage Foundation.

“Uncertainty in Lebanon will not be resolved unless there is new leadership that corresponds to the extraordinary revolution of nonviolence that occurred last year,” contended Mallat.  “A truly democratic leadership election would bring us [Lebanon] back into the democratic process.”

Mallat has actively worked to prompt the United Nations (UN) to encourage Lebanon to hold presidential elections under UN Resolution 1559.  Working with other advocates in Lebanon Mallat has been promoting the implementation of the clause in Resolution 1559, calling for an election free of foreign influence. Mallat hopes that bringing attention to this issue will accelerate the restoration of democracy in Lebanon and encourage similar non-violent developments in the Middle East.

Craner praised the Lebanese people for their bravery and peaceful outpouring of public emotion following the death in February 2005 of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  “Lebanon is an inspiration to people in the Middle East and the world.  What occurred last year was quite commendable, what you did in getting the Syrians out was remarkable.”  Craner also reiterated IRI’s commitment to democracy promotion in the region and in Lebanon specifically.

Mallat was born in Lebanon in 1960.  Born a Maronite Christian and recognized as a leading Islamic scholar, Mallat serves as a professor of law at St. Joseph’s University and a practicing lawyer and a senior fellow at Yale law school. Over a period of two decades, Mallat has been active on issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, the democratic process and the rule of law. He has been lead counsel in a number of international criminal cases, including the trial of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Belgian courts, the indictment of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi for the disappearance of Lebanese Imam Musa Sadr in Libya. In 1996 he established Indict, the international nongovernmental organization that worked to bring Saddam Hussein and his aides to justice.

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