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    » 03/06/2007, 00.00

    LEBANON

    More and more talk about a “Saudi” solution to Lebanon’s political crisis



    Saudi ambassador meets Lebanese leaders and returns home today to refer on discussions. Sources close to Nabih Berri expect that an agreement between government majority and opposition might be possible by the end of the week.

    Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanese leaders and diplomatic sources are increasingly optimistic that Lebanon’s political crisis might be close to solution. Key to this is Saudi Arabia’s progressively more important role, especially after the positive outcome of the meeting between Saudi King Abdullah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and its diplomatic activity ahead of the upcoming Arab summit scheduled for late March in Riyadh.

    After meeting Lebanon’s National Assembly Speaker Nabih Berri, President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Saudi Arabia's Ambassador in Beirut, Abdul Aziz Khojah, is returning home to refer about his talks. In Riyadh he will find Lebanon’s majority bloc leader Saad Hariri, and General Michel Aoun, who heads a Christian party that is in the opposition alliance headed by Hezbollah.

    Sources close to Berri, who heads the opposition Amal party, told The Daily Star that he and Saad Hariri are coordinating on the process of “announcing the solution,” and that he will likely hold a news conference in the next few days.

    “There is a deadline set for the end of this week to announce a solution at the insistence of Saudi King Abdullah, heavy insistence,” Arafat Hijjazi, a close adviser to Berri, told the paper.

    Lebanon’s Arabic daily As-Safir reports that thre are “48 hours of contacts with Lebanon rivals to agree before calling them to Saudi Arabia.”

    French-language daily L’Orient Le Jour writes “that the principle of a solution seems to have been agreed,” adding however that “there is no ready made solution according to diplomatic sources.” What is more, “the opposition is not hiding its satisfaction, which indicates that it believes that the agreement is favourable to it,” whilst “Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt and Samir Geagea maintain a prudent silence”. 

    By contrast Al Nahar writes that the “[o]ptimism that emerged following the Iranian-Saudi summit has dwindled after an announcement by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal that the Lebanon situation remains unchanged [. . .] in terms of political turmoil and lack of stability.”

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    See also

    17/06/2008 LEBANON
    Secretary Rice brings US backing to Suleiman and Siniora
    The US secretary of state’s short stop in Lebanon shows Washington is “present” in the Doha agreement and Lebanon’s presidential election. Clashes between pro- anti-government supporters in Bekaa Valley result in three dead and four wounded.

    15/02/2010 LEBANON
    Commemorating Rafik Hariri’s death, demanding answers from March 14 leaders
    More than 100,000 people gather to commemorate the death of former PM Hariri. Speaking to the crowds, leaders reiterate in measured tones the alliance’s goals. However, banners appear, asking, “What have you with my vote?”

    16/01/2007 LEBANON
    Donors’ conference, cause of dissent between government and opposition
    As the prime minister seeks the support of Arab countries, the opposition raises the specter that economic reforms will lead to the permanent settlement of Palestinians in the country.

    27/07/2005 LEBANON
    Geagea in Paris for medical check-up and sightseeing


    26/01/2007 LEBANON
    Tense calm prevails as the shadow of civil war looms over Beirut
    Both majority and opposition leaders slam yesterday’s clashes, which bring back memories of the 15-year civil war. Saudi Arabia denies that any negotiations are underway with Iran over the Lebanon crisis. Maronite League urges all parties to engage in dialogue on the basis of the Bkerke principles.



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