RIYADH (AFP) -EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was due to hold talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Tuesday on the second leg of a Middle East tour aimed at easing Lebanon’s political stalemate.
Solana, who arrived in Riyadh from Beirut late Monday, will also meet with Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal for talks expected to be dominated by the Lebanese crisis and Syria’s role in Lebanon, a diplomatic source said.
“Saudi Arabia cannot be bypassed in the region, especially concerning Lebanon,” the diplomat told AFP.
The aim is to have Syria “adopt a more flexible, more cooperative attitude” on Lebanon, he added, requesting anonymity.
Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has spearheaded attempts to resolve the crisis between the Western-backed government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, with which it has close links, and the opposition led by the Shiite movement Hezbollah, which has Iranian and Syrian support.
At a joint news conference with Siniora in Beirut on Monday, Solana said he would hold “frank discussions” on Wednesday in Syria on its ties with Lebanon, where many people blame Damascus for a series of bomb attacks.
On his first visit in two years to Syria, Solana said, he will also address the issue of the UN tribunal due to try suspects in the 2005 murder of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri, which was widely blamed on Damascus.
The Riyadh-based diplomat said Solana’s talks with Saudi officials would cover the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq, the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme and the stalled peace process in the Middle East.
They would discuss the implications of last month’s Saudi-sponsored accord between Fatah and the ruling Islamist movement Hamas to form a Palestinian national unity government.