07/10/2007, 00.00
SYRIA – LEBANON
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Signs of progress and reconciliation in Lebanon, says Amr Moussa

Arab League chief, who met Syrian President Assad after meeting Saudi King Abdullah, says he is committed to solving a crisis he calls “dangerous.” But Syrian words of good will are accompanied by rising signs of tension.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – “There are signs of progress on the reconciliation efforts in Lebanon,” said Amr Moussa, Arab League chief, after a visit to Syria where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), Syria “expressed support” for Moussa's Lebanon mission.

Moussa said that there was agreement Syria and Saudi Arabia agreed that a solution to the Lebanese crisis was important. Still chances of success are not very good. First of all, SANA reported that the Arab League chief’s mission "aims at achieving accordance among Lebanese parties in order to form a national unity government there,” which is what pro-Syrian Lebanese opposition parties are trying to get. Secondly, Syrian authorities have asked all Syrian nationals working in Lebanon (hundreds of thousands) to leave the country by July 15. Syrian students, some on scholarships, were also asked to leave because of the worsening situation.

At the same Syria has rejected a proposal made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to start direct peace talks without US mediation.

Lebanese daily An-Nahar also reported that that Chief UN investigator Serge Brammertz has asked Syrian authorities for information on the identity of the occupants of a stolen car used in the November 2006 assassination of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. The same car eventually crossed into Syrian territory.

Brammertz’ demand might accentuate fears in Damascus about the possible findings of the UN-sponsored international tribunal charged with investigating the Hariri and other political murders in Lebanon. For this reason, it increasingly appears that the tribunal is the main cause of the prolonged Lebanese crisis.

Moussa, who travelled to Damascus after meeting with Saudi King Abdullah, seems bent on pursuing his mission to solve the current situation in Lebanon which he described as "dangerous.” Fortunately, “there is agreement between Syria and Saudi Arabia over the importance of moving forward," he said.

The Lebanese political crisis will also be the focus of the Lebanese 14-party dialogue to be hosted in France from July 14-16. (PD)

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