01/18/2008, 00.00
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A ray of hope as Moussa gets Hariri and Aoun to meet

Arab League secretary general arrives in Damascus today to get Syria to push its Lebanese allies towards a deal. “Father, Forgive them, for They Don't Know what They're Doing,” said Patriarch Sfeir in response to attacks from Franjieh and Aoun.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – There is a ray of hope in finding a solution to Lebanon’s political crisis. Arab League Chief Amr Moussa succeeded in getting majority alliance leader Saad Hariri and opposition “negotiator” Michel Aoun around the same table. Nothing was decided at the meeting but Secretary Moussa said “We've agreed on some points,” although “other points need further discussion. We've agreed on meeting again after my return from Damascus.”

Moussa’s trip to Syria is designed evidently to persuade Damascus to put pressure on its Lebanese allies to be more open to his mediation.

One card up Moussa’s sleeve is the possibility that the next summit of the Arab League may take place in the Syrian capital, barring which the Saudis might boycott the event if Lebanon does not get a new president.

Moussa refused to discuss any details of yesterday’s meeting, which took place at the parliament building with former President Amin Gemayel present.

Father, Forgive them, for They Don't Know what They're Doing,” said Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir yesterday as he quoted the Gospel in order to give an evangelical comment on the verbal attacks against him by opposition leaders, especially Suleiman Franjieh, who told him to resign, and Michel Aoun, who, belittling his role, called him an “ordinary citizen.”

The cardinal spoke at a meeting in which he greeted ordinary people and leaders who had come to Bkerke to express him their solidarity.

This is not the first time and will not be the last," Sfeir noted, adding that the attacks will eventually backfired against their perpetrators.

A statement was released in the evening at the end of a meeting with Maronite bishops and the Papal Nuncio, Mgr Luigi Gatti, in which the patriarch thanked all those who visited the See of the Patriarchate but also asked them to refrain from similar initiatives in the next few days. (PD)

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See also
After winning the armed confrontation, Hizbollah is preparing to cash in politically
For Cardinal Sfeir Lebanon’s president must be elected in accordance with Lebanon’s constitution
Maronite bishops urge Christian leaders to reconcile
Some rays of hope for peace and reconciliation in Beirut
Beirut hopeful following Saudi-Iranian summit


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