Aridi hopes Hariri, March 14 will be at dialogue talks


Lebanese Public Works and Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi voiced hope on Saturday that Future Movement leader and former PM Saad Hariri and March 14 opposition would participate in new national dialogue talks.

“President Michel Suleiman and ourselves would appreciate the presence of [Hariri and March 14] at the dialogue table,” Aridi told Voice of Lebanon radio station on Saturday

Aridi also commended on the “positive and open” meeting that took place on Friday between Suleiman and Hariri in Saudi Arabia, adding that he believed that the latter “will assess the question of participating in dialogue.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal hosted a luncheon in Suleiman’s honor during his one day visit to Jeddah . Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has been absent from Lebanon for over a year due to security reasons

Aridi represents in the cabinet the Progressive Socialist Party which is led by MP Walid Jumblatt.

Last Monday, the president sent invitations to the members of the national dialogue committee to meet on June 11 at the Baabda Presidential Palace.

March 14 parties have repeatedly said that they refuse to engage in any national dialogue session unless there is an agreement to discuss Hezbollah’s weapons. The coalition is also demanding the formation of a neutral “salvation” government to oversee next year’s parliamentary elections as a precondition to convening the National Dialogue talks.

The president met Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz on Friday to seek his help in freeing the Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were kidnapped on their way back from Iran, by a rebel group in the province of Aleppo, Syria.