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Gemayel Reported Ready to Resign

May 17, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Lebanese President Amin Gemayel threatened to quit as Syria and right-wing factions in his Christian community squabbled over the resignation of the Muslim premier, news reports said Saturday.

Christians urged Gemayel, a Maronite Christian, to accept Premier Rashid Karami's 13-day-old resignation, but Syria, the major power broker in Lebanon, urged Karami to stay on.

"The president is undertaking a chain of contacts with various leaderships in a bid to get all to cooperate in resolving the impasse. Otherwise, he will . . . resign," said the Voice of Lebanon radio station, mouthpiece of Gemayel's Christian Falangist Party.

Karami, 66, a Sunni Muslim, announced his resignation May 4, apparently after becoming frustrated by the failure of his half-Christian, half-Muslim Cabinet to cope with an economic crisis caused by almost 12 years of civil war.

Inflation has soared to an annual rate of 200% and unemployment to 20%.

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