Saudi King to visit Lebanon
Beirut, July 27, 2010
Saudi King Abdullah will visit Lebanon on Friday and urge rival parties to exercise restraint amid tensions over the possible implication of Hizbollah in the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, a government official said yesterday.
"The visit comes amid efforts to ease tensions in the country," the high-ranking official who did not wish to be identified was quoted as saying in our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
"He is going to tell all the parties to remain cool."
He was referring to mounting fears of a conflict in Lebanon following last week's announcement by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that he knew the UN tribunal probing Hariri's 2005 murder was set to indict Hizbollah members.
Nasrallah made clear that he would not accept any indictment of Hizbollah members and has questioned the credibility of the tribunal.
His announcement has sparked fears of a sectarian conflict in Lebanon similar to one that brought the country close to civil war in 2008.
Saudi Arabia was a key supporter of Hariri and also has influence with his son and current Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri.
The Saudi king's hours-long visit will be his first to Lebanon since 2002.
It is part of a regional tour that will also take him on Thursday to Syria, which, along with Iran, backs Hizbollah.
In Lebanon, the king will meet President Michel Sleiman and members of the national unity government that includes Hizbollah. – TradeArabia News Service