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Saudi minister says Lebanon statements "taken out of context"

Arab World Materials 21 January 2011 14:12
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Friday that his recent remarks about pulling out of Lebanon mediation talks were "taken out of context."
Saudi minister says Lebanon statements "taken out of context"

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Friday that his recent remarks about pulling out of Lebanon mediation talks were "taken out of context."

"What has changed is (Saudi Arabia's) position regarding mediation between Lebanon and Syria, but the kingdom will always support Lebanese legitimacy," Lebanese radio stations quoted him as telling the Saudi News Agency, DPA reported.

Lebanon is facing a political crisis after the government collapsed on January 12 when ministers of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and their allies left the cabinet of Premier Saad Hariri.

Faisal reportedly told the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya Television on Wednesday that his country has abandoned mediation efforts in Lebanon, where he described the situation as "dangerous."

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

The kingdom, which supports the ruling majority in Lebanon, has for months been involved in mediation efforts with Syria, the main- backer of the Hezbollah-led faction in the government.

The mediators were trying to find a solution for the political turmoil, triggered by the the UN-backed tribunal in the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, Saad Hariri's father.

Hezbollah resigned from the cabinet to protest against Saad Hariri's reluctance to cut ties with the tribunal.

Hezbollah is afraid of being implicated in the assassination by the court's prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, who this weak filed confidential draft indictments to the tribunal.

Hariri currently heads a caretaker government. Parliamentary consultations on the political situation are scheduled to take place January 24-25.

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