Beirut (AsiaNews) – French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, is in Lebanon on a mission to “re-establish trust among the political faction”, arriving yesterday in Beirut. Kouchner, who met yesterday with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Parliament speaker Nabih Berri, said he had no “magic plan” to resolve the current political crises in the country, but that he aimed to pursue the course of dialogue initiated by a July 14th and 15th meeting in Celle Saint-Cloud, near Paris, the 14 main political parties. Sources close to Berri spoke of the positive outcome of talks and the need to resume inter-Lebanese negotiations. “We underlined the need to create confidence among Lebanon's communities." Koucher said following the talks with Siniora, "We affirmed that the solution was in the hands of the Lebanese”.
Lebanese media however today appeared rather critical of the possible solutions that the French initiative may bring about. Hezbollah’s television network, Al-Manar, citing political sources attributes the minister with the idea of gathering the political groups together for the Parisian meeting only to speak separately with their leaders. The pro-government daily L’Orient Le Jour writes of the “foolish hopes” of the French minister’s mission, while there is “no light at the end of the tunnel”; “politicians from both sides – notes the Daily Star – have been downplaying the chances of a solution being reached within the next few days”. While Aan-Nahar, in an article entitled “No advance in mission Kouchner”, reports the vain attempts of the French Minister to gather all 14 groups together for a dinner.
According to the same daily, citing anonymous government sources, mission Kouchner is not just a French mission, but part of a wider effort which on Sunday will bring the minister to Cairo to meet the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, and Saudi minister, Saud al-Faisal, as well as the secretary general of the Arab League. (PD)