A diplomatic source to "Akhbar al-Yawm": this is what Saudi Arabia will demand from Assad

A diplomatic source to "Akhbar al-Yawm": this is what Saudi Arabia will demand from Assad

| Thursday 18 May 2023

Omar al-Rassi, “Akhbar al-Yawm” agency

Hezbollah is convinced of the impossibility of electing Frangieh

The Arab Summit starts tomorrow in Jeddah, and Lebanon, which is mired in crises, vacuums and disagreements, is pinning hopes on it to come up with solutions, but it is known that the Arab summit will not go into the Lebanese details, as the focus will be on the return of Syria to the Arab League.

A diplomatic source explains via "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency that the summit will discuss generalities, the most prominent of which will be to send a clear message to Syria that its return to the Arab League is conditional on reducing the "scale of crimes" carried out by the regime, as well as reducing the presence of Iran and Hezbollah on its territory. In addition to defining basic conditions for reconstruction, the most important of which are: the restoration of sovereignty, and the return of numbers of displaced people in a decent manner without reprisals or torture.

The source pointed out that the final statement of the summit will address the Lebanese crisis in order to urge the election of a president of the Republic as soon as possible, which is a gateway to the reconstruction of institutions.

But for Lebanon, the most important thing is the meetings that will take place on the sidelines of the summit, where the Lebanese delegation should raise its voice loudly on the issue of Syrian refugees, as the country can no longer bear their presence, and therefore demand that the Arab League assume its responsibilities in this matter, and Syria demands a quick and safe return.

In the context of Lebanon, the source suggested that a meeting between the Saudi side (possibly at the level of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is likely to take place. It is expected that he will be asked to call on former minister Sleiman Frangieh to renounce his presidential candidacy.

The source considered that such an invitation could not come from Hezbollah, which adopted his candidacy, although the party is convinced of the impossibility of electing Frangieh for several reasons, including: There is no possibility of either securing a quorum or securing votes, the election of Frangieh will make him a challenge President, and therefore will not lead to the entry of any aid to Lebanon, which will reflect more poverty among the Lebanese, including the Shiites.

The source pointed out that the French initiative that promoted Frangieh is in constant decline, although some French officials are trying to prolong it because of its financial benefit to them, explaining that putting forward the name of Ambassador Nawaf Salam to assume the presidency of the government was from the "French part" to please Saudi Arabia.

However, according to the source, Saudi Arabia cannot accept Frangieh, who is close to Iran and Syria, despite the diplomatic language adopted by the ambassador in Beirut, Walid Bukhari, that there is no veto on anyone, but implicitly he says, "elect whoever you want, and therefore dealing with Lebanon will be on this basis, i.e. electing Frangieh will not open the door to Saudi and Gulf assistance.

The source concluded: non-intervention does not mean the election of Frangieh!


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