The Straits Times
Published on Oct 20, 2012

PM to stay as Lebanon reels over blast, Syria accused


BEIRUT (AFP) - Lebanon's prime minister, under intense political flak over a car bombing that killed a senior security official, said on Saturday that he would stay on after the president said it would be in the national interest.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati spoke after an urgent Cabinet meeting discussed the Friday bombing in Beirut that killed at least three people, and wounded scores and has been blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In Damascus, meanwhile, United Nations-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi pressed Syria for a ceasefire during the four-day Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday starting on Oct 26, which he believes could pave the way for other, more permanent peace initiatives.

But even as he began talks with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, fighting raged on in northern battlefields, where regime jets resumed bombarding the key town of Maaret al-Numan which rebels captured on Oct 9.