Former Lebanese Prime Minister and leader of the largest parliamentary bloc MP Saad Hariri and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are scheduled to hold talks next week according to a report by Russia Today on Sunday.
Russia Today did not disclose the date of the meeting or give further details of their expected discussions.
Hariri who is already in Paris met on Sunday with British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher , who renewed his country’s support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is set to begin trials on January 16 in the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, Rafik.
In 2011, the court indicted four Hezbollah suspects — Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra – of being involved in the attack. A fifth Hezbollah suspect, Hassan Habib Merhi, was indicted in 2013.
Hariri announced on Saturday that he will head a March 14 delegation to attend the opening session of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague, Voice of Lebanon (93.3) reported on Saturday.
Lavrov is leaving for Paris on Sunday to discuss preparations for the Geneva-2 international conference for Syria with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
According to a statement issued by Hariri’s office, the meeting was also attended by Russian Deputy FM Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Foreign Ministry director of Mideast dept. Sergey Vershinin and the ex-PM’s advisers Nader Hariri and George Shaaban.
The talks involved “a thorough discussion of the situations in Lebanon and the region,” according to the statement.
Update 2 : Sources closely connected with the meeting in Paris between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri told A Jamhouriah newspaper ” that Lavrov stressed to Hariri that his country supports the Baabda Declaration and considers it a solid foundation for national reconciliation , and he welcomed the creation of of a Lebanese government that is able to dissociate Lebanon from the risks surrounding the country and specifically Syria ” adding ” its top priority should be to maintain Lebanon’s unity and territorial integrity . ”
“Lavrov also told Hariri that his country is against all forms of foreign interference in Syrian affairs , by any party , and in any way whatsoever , because the Syrian crisis is bound to expand outside the border , and therefore no one will be immune to its repercussions .”
The sources confirmed that Hariri and Lavrov agreed on the need to confront all forms of terrorism and the importance of cooperation in this field .
“They also discussed in the ongoing preparations for the Geneva 2 conference . Lavrov stressed the importance of a political solution to the Syrian crisis and the necessity of forming an interim government that enjoys executive powers in accordance with the decisions of the Geneva 1 in order to end this crisis .”
Russia is the key arms supplier to the Syrian regime and it has used its veto power at the UN security council several times to block attempts that undermine the Syrian regime.
Syrian ally in Lebanon the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group has been sending its members to fight alongside the forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al Assad against the pro democracy uprising despite the Baabda declaration which calls for distancing Lebanon from the Syrian and other regional events.
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