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Saudi Envoy in Beirut Calls for National Dialogue - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awwad Asiri. (AAA)

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awwad Asiri. (AAA)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awwad Asiri called on Lebanese officials to be more mindful and wiser, avoid escalatory language, and be rational in order to keep Lebanon away from danger.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Asiri hoped that the efforts to form a new government in Lebanon would open the door to all parties to meet and move on to a better stage at all levels.

He refused to answer a question on the form of the new Lebanese government, on the basis that Saudi Arabia does not intervene in other states’ internal affairs. However, he emphasized the importance of the existence of a government that will administer the country during this sensitive stage in accordance with national consensus.

Asiri said that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gave directives to communicate with all Lebanese political forces without exception, and to encourage internal solutions for the benefit of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

Asiri added that the critical phase through which the region is passing makes it incumbent on Lebanese officials to be more mindful and wiser, adopt calm language, and be rational in order to keep Lebanon away from danger. He also called on these officials to engage in a national dialogue because the Lebanese know their problems better than anyone and how to address them. He noted that he had conveyed this to speaker of the parliament Nabih Birri, former head of the caretaker government Najib Mikati, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi, and the rest of the officials he visited yesterday.

Ambassador Asiri declared, “The Saudi leadership, government, and people wish all the best to Lebanon and to all sects of its people. Saudi Arabia hopes that Lebanese officials will pass through this stage with national unity, cohesion, and a dialogue sponsored by His Excellency, President of the Republic General Michel Suleiman.”

He added, “Such a dialogue will take Lebanon towards a phase of understanding under a new government that will address the economic issue, ensure security stability, and hold parliamentary elections in accordance with a law acceptable to the Lebanese people.”

Ambassador Asiri proclaimed, “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, is keen for a stable and sovereign Lebanon that enjoys civil peace. The kingdom stands by Lebanon in all circumstances and is pleased to find that the Lebanese brothers are convinced of the need to engage in a deep and constructive national dialogue.”

Asked about the role that Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will play, Asiri replied that the president is showing a great interest in applying the constitution and preserving the state’s institutions. “President Suleiman is also exerting persistent efforts to ensure success for the dialogue because he is convinced that dialogue is the only way to bring all political forces’ views closer, consolidate national unity, and reinforce the country’s internal position.”

Asiri continued, “President Suleiman’s positions are highly valued by all observers both internally and abroad. We hope that the cooperation between him, the new head of government, and all officials of the state will help achieve Lebanon’s interests and the aspirations of the Lebanese people.”

Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s current role in Lebanon, Asiri pointed out that the kingdom is following a strict policy based on non-intervention in Lebanon’s internal affairs. He said that Saudi Arabia encourages all efforts to consolidate national unity and coexistence, and that it stands by Lebanon in all moves to preserve its sovereignty and achieve progress and prosperity.