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Saudi Arabia gives up mediation efforts in Lebanon

Arab World Materials 19 January 2011 15:46
Saudi Arabia has given up on its mediation efforts in Lebanon, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in an interview Wednesday with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television.
Saudi Arabia gives up mediation efforts in Lebanon

Saudi Arabia has given up on its mediation efforts in Lebanon, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in an interview Wednesday with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television, DPA reported.

The foreign minister said "Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been in contact with a commitment to end the whole Lebanon problem."

"But when this did not take place, (the Saudi King) said he was pulling his hand out," Faisal told Al Arabiya.

Saudi Arabia has played a key role in mediating previous political crisis in Lebanon, for instance by helping end the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990.

His comment came as Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber al-Thani were holding talks with Lebanon's political rivals in an bid to placate the political turmoil.

Lebanon's government collapsed after the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah and their allies withdrew from the cabinet on January 12 to protest against Hariri's reluctance to cut ties with a UN tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah fears being implicated by the court's prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, who has filed confidential draft indictments to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's pre-trial judge, Daniel Fransen.

Hezbollah supporters are now threatening take to the streets to protest against the STL's indictment.

"Street actions is our democratic right," said Wiaam Wahab, a former government minister and a staunch supporter of Syria and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Qatar's Al-Thani and Turkey's Davutoglu arrived in Beirut on Tuesday and started their talks with Lebanese leaders, including Hezbollah's Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

A statement issued by Hezbollah said the overnight talks had focused on finding a solution to the deepening political crisis in Lebanon, which many fear could spark renewed sectarian violence.

Political analyst George Alam doubted that the Qatari-Turkish efforts would succeed.

He said Turkey and Qatar "will not be able to achieve what Saudi- Arabia and Syria could not finish in Lebanon."

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