Hariri returned to Beirut and headed to Riyadh


Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s office released a statement that the PM returned to Beirut on Wednesday after a private visit to New York, but then headed to Riyadh on a private visit .

According to local reports Hariri traveled to New York on Sunday to meet with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz is being treated for a herniated disc.

Hariri according to the statement called President Michel Suleiman as soon as he arrived to discuss the latest developments.

King Abdullah, who is 86 years old, headed to New York on November 22 and was operated on two days later for a debilitating herniated disc .

As expected his meeting with the Saudi Monarch and his subsequent trip to Riyadh has fueled a lot of speculation about the Saudi-Syrian initiative .

The pro-Syrian Al-Akhbar newspaper said Wednesday that a Saudi-Syrian (S-S) compromise based on Lebanon’s withdrawal from the international tribunal is likely to be announced by January 15.

On the other hand Al-Akhbar reported that only three insiders were really up-to-date with the deal: King Abdullah, Assad and Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Al-Akhbar is reportedly very close to Nasrallah and its “columns are widely viewed as telegraphs from the Hezbollah leadership”

Even the Israeli newspapers are speculating about the outcome of the S-S initiative. “Saudi Arabia is putting more pressure on Prime Minister Saad Hariri to reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon investigating the 2005 assassination of his father ex-PM,” the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday .

March 14 leaders on the other hand are discounting all these reports and are saying “all what is being reported is strictly speculation”.

Future Movement official Mustafa Allouch said on Wednesday that his party ( which is headed by PM Saad Hariri) will not accept any solution that would call for canceling the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment.

He told OTV that the Future Movement’s position is to hold on to the STL and its indictment, which, he added, he hopes is issued as soon as possible “so things can move [forward].”

Saudi and Syrian officials have reportedly been communicating in efforts to reach a compromise that would ease the tensions in Lebanon.



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