Syrian-Saudi truce to help Lebanon to form gov't

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 7 / Trend , U.Sadikhova, R.Hafizoglu/

Improvement of the Syria-Saudi Arabi relations will have a positive impact on forming the government in Lebanon, as well as lead to a truce between the pro-Western and pro-Syrian political forces in Beirut.

"Lebanon in a regional position is under influence of the two major forces, including Syria and Saudi Arabia," Head of the Lebanese Strategic Studies Mohammed Nureddin told Trend in a telephone conversation from Beirut. "The ruling circles in Lebanon know that the situation in the country will remain unstable without agreement between the Syrians and Saudis.

Syrian President Bashshar al-Assad held talks with senior Saudi emissary - the son of King Abdullah, Prince Abdul Aziz in Damascus last week, the Syrian SANA agency reported. The prince was accompanied by former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Lebanon Abdul Aziz Khoja, who now is the Culture and Information Minister of the Kingdom.

Al-Hariri who won the parliamentary elections in June said that forming a new cabinet "will take time, and the new composition should be submitted soon. In Beirut, people believe that al-Hariri, who has close ties with the royal courts of Saudi Arabia awaits the outcome of the Syria-Riyadh negotiations, the Lebanese media reported.

Analysts do not exclude that he will establish relations with Damascus, basing on the results of the Saudi-Syrian negotiations.

On Thursday, after returning from a one-day visit from Riyadh, Al-Hariri said that he is ready to establish relations with Syria.

Parliamentarian of Al-Hariri's movement Al-Mustaqbal Nohad Mashnuk said in an interview with Lebanese television that "Prime Minister al-Hariri wants to establish relations with Syria, because the two countries [Lebanon and Syria] can not live in a state of enmity", Al-Mustaqbal Web site reported.

Relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated after accusing Damascu of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri's murder in 2005, who was Saudis' close ally in the region and former Saudi businessman.

Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon, which were in the country 30 years under pressure of the UN Security Council and Arab countries, under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia.

Damascus is also accused of inciting clashes between supporters of al-Hariri and pro-Syrian party Hezbollah in 2005 and 2008.

At the meeting with the French President's Secretary General Claude Gueant and Nicolas Sarkozy's advisor on diplomatic issues Jean David Levitte, al-Assad said that he would be happy to see Saad al-Hariri at the planned Damascus summit of the leaders of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, RIA Novosti reported. Eaxtc date of the summit has not yet been fixed, but it is expected to take place on July 16. Al-Hariri is expected to take part in the summit together with President Michel Suleiman.

Nureddin believes that Saudi Arabia's decision to improve relations with Syria aimed at strengthening al-Hariri's future government. Nureddin believes that the future cabinet will not be stable, if confrontation with Syria continues.

"Saudi Arabia does not want al-Hariri to lead a weak government, and opposition to [March 8] to create serious problems," Nureddin said.

He added that Riyadh aims to facilitate al-Hariri's future governance and assist him in building a strong and secure state, which can not be achieved without an agreement with Syria.

In Beirut, people also believe that if the Saudi and Syrian interests in Lebanon are maintained, then the Hezbollah party will not boycott al-Hariri's future cabinet.

The bilateral agreement will help Saudi Arabia to maintain the economic interests in Lebanon and the impact on domestic policy through al-Hariri's party. At the same time, Syria will be able to maintain the Hezbollah force to confront the Israeli attacks, Member of the Al-Mustaqbal movement Tagiddin Suleiman told Trend in a telephone conversation from Beirut.

He added that despite the pressure of Egypt and the United States on Saudi Arabia to end talks with Syria, it would not affect forming a government in Lebanon and preserving the parties' interests in the country.

The United States and Egypt do not want to see Syria as ally of Saudi Arabia because of its interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon and the Palestinian problem, he added.

"The forces, acting under pressure from Egypt and the United States, comprises minority [in Lebanon], so it does not become a problem for the agreement of Syria and Saudi Arabia," Tagiddin said.

Nureddin also believes that Saudi Arabia is now more interested in the stability of al-Hariri's government, which can not be achieved without the agreement with Syria and its allies.

"Saudi Arabia will prefer to hinder al-Hariri to head the government, rather than to form a cabinet without an agreement with Syria and the opposition," Nureddin said, adding that al-Hariri's unilateral government will lead the country towards political and economic chaos.

"This is beneficial neither for al-Hariri, who wants to create a new system in Lebanon, nor Saudi Arabia's interests in the country," he added.

Syria may demand the high price from rapprochement with Saudi Arabia in order not to block the formation of al-Hariri's new government - return influence to Lebanon when it was before withdrawal of troops from this country, Analyst on Lebanese Policy Nadim Shehadi believes.

"Syria may demand to return previous influence to Lebanon, when it had opportunity to block the government," Member of the British Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs Shehadi told Trend in a telephone conversation from London.

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