U.S. envoy stresses Lebanon's role in Middle East peace
Visiting U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell said in Beirut Friday that Lebanon will play a basic role in achieving peace in the Middle East, official National News Agency (NNA) reported.
"Lebanon will play a basic role in building permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East," Mitchell said after meeting Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Xinhua reported.
He added that his visit aims at reaffirming U.S. President Barack Obama's strong commitment to promote peace in the Middle East and to assure the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as possible.
Mitchell congratulated the Lebanese people on holding " successful parliamentary elections" last Sunday, stressing the U.S. commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty and independence as well as strong bilateral relations.
He reaffirmed that any solution to the Middle East crisis will not be on the expense of Lebanon.
Mitchell met Lebanese President Michel Suleiman at his arrival Friday from Amman, and will meet other Lebanese leaders including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and majority leader Saad Hariri.
Local press reports said Friday that Mitchell will later head to Damascus where he is expected to hold talks with Syrian officials on pursuing diplomatic engagements which have been strained for almost four years between Washington and Damascus and pushing forward the peaces process in the region.