Saudi Arabia trying to ease tension in Lebanon


As Safir newspaper said Monday that Saudi Arabia is reportedly speeding up efforts to contain the crisis in Lebanon which worsened over the weekend after counter-accusations between al-Mustaqbal and Hezbollah lawmakers.

The daily said that royal advisor Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah  ( son of  Saudi king Abdullah ) could visit Damascus soon to try to calm the situation in Lebanon and avoid a strife.

The Saudi al-Watan newspaper also said that regional mediators could head to Beirut in the next few days to defuse the tension.

Meanwhile, local attempts to solve the crisis have hit a  dead end . An Nahar newspaper quoted ministerial sources as saying that efforts by President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt suffered a setback after several Mustaqbal and Hezbollah traded harsh words on Sunday.

However, the sources expressed some optimism by saying that the next 48 hours would witness strong efforts to cool down the tension and end the media campaigns between the two sides before the cabinet session that is scheduled for Tuesday.

Al Hayat newspaper reported that Amal Movement did not participate in receiving Sayyed at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport.

On Saturday, armed Hezbollah bodyguards received former General Security chief Jamil as-Sayyed at the Rafik Hariri International Airport upon his return to Beirut from France, after he was summoned by the court for questioning over his September 12 statement in which he attacked Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the state

Among those who welcomed the former security chief at the airport were Hezbollah, Free Patriotic Movement members and MP Assem Qanso representing the Baath party.

When asked by a reporter about the reason behind Amal MPs’ absence from the welcoming ceremony, Hezbollah MP Nawaf Moussawi said: “Hezbollah and present MPs represent Amal and Speaker Nabih Berri.”

Ad-Diyar newspaper reported on Monday that Speaker Nabih Berri told his visitors that some political figures failed to read between the lines, especially after he isolated himself from the airport incident.

The daily added that Berri’s position shows that he does not see eye-to-eye with Hezbollah and other March 8 parties with regard to Sayyed’s reception, especially in light of the deteriorating relationship between the speaker and Sayyed.

But As-Safir newspaper quoted on Monday Sayyed as saying that the March 14 alliance “must not waste its time” trying to get between the him and Speaker Nabih Berri .

“I tell March 14 that Berri will remain speaker… those who are concerned must look at the traps being set up by former PM Fouad Siniora’s attempts to get rid of [PM] Saad Hariri, and [Lebanese Forces leader] Samir Geagea’s [efforts] to get rid of the Gemayels,” Sayyed told As-Safir.