Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun yesterday announced the death of the “the Saudi – Syrian initiative” saying that this had reached a “dead end”. Commenting on this statement, Saudi Ambassador to Beirut, Ali Awad Osseiri, expressed surprise at Aoun’s announcement and told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there is no initiative to fail.”
Osseiri told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Saudi Arabia has not put forward any initiative, but it is exerting effort to bridge the gap between the viewpoints of the Lebanese leadership” adding that these efforts aim to encourage “Lebanese – Lebanese” solutions. Ambassador Osseiri said “in response to the ongoing talk about Saudi – Syrian effort, I want to stress that Lebanese – Lebanese effort will certainly be a thousand times better [for Lebanon], because we believe that only Lebanese solutions are viable.”
Following his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Lebanese Minister Wael Abou Faour informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi – Syrian effort is facing “obstacles that we hope will not [delay it] for too long.” He also revealed that the Lebanese president “is exerting effort and communication to explore ways to initiate internal dialogue.”
Sources within Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s bloc also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the halt of the efforts [to resolve this situation” is almost entirely the result of “the insistence of the other team to not do what is required of them…they are waiting for Hariri to do everything that he must first before taking the initiative and implementing what has been agreed upon.”
The source also revealed that there has been significant movement from the March 8 Alliance following Aoun’s statement about the failure of the Saudi – Syrian initiative, and this includes a delegation meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. The source revealed that this delegation including Minister Gebran Bassil, Deputy Head of the Amal movement Ali Hassan Khalil, MP Suleiman Frangieh, as well as Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah Hussein al-Khalil, to meet with Lebanese President.