Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Hours before visiting Beirut on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan said his government would do everything it could to prevent
war in Lebanon, AFP reported.
Speaking to the Lebanese paper As-Safir on Tuesday, Erdogan said that
"should any signs of war surface in Lebanon, God forbid, Turkey and the
other countries in the region will do everything they can to prevent
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According to the report, he added that he does not wish to see the country experience another
civil war, saying, "Today we stand by Lebanon as we always have."
Over the course of his visit to Lebanon, the Turkish prime minister was expected to meet with Lebanon's president Michel
Suleiman, parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri,
and was scheduled to visit several Turkish-sponsored projects in the
Erdogan's visit comes as the UN Special Tribunal in Lebanon (STL), which
has been investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik
Hariri, begins to wind down. Hizbullah is widely expected to be implicated by the
tribunal, and has openly declared that it will "cut off the hand
anyone who tries and arrest a Hizbullah member in connection to the
to a CBC report from earlier in the week that said the Hariri
Tribunal will implicate the group, Hizbullah MP Walid Sukarriyeh
accused the report's authors of trying sow discord, Lebanon's Nahar reported.
Sukarriyeh said, "Even if Hizbullah killed PM Hariri, there is no interest in destroying Lebanon," the report said.
Syria and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in efforts to prevent an
outbreak of violence following the eventual release of the STL's
indictments. Saudi Arabia is a strong supporter of the Sunni,
western-aligned Hariri government. Syria is a long time supporter and
patron of Shi'ite Hizbullah.
On Wednesday, Syrian sources told Hizbullah-aligned Al-Ahbar
that Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's hospitalization in the United States is
hurting the chances of the two countries successfully reaching an accord
with the Lebanese factions. The sources also blamed the United States
for "sabotaging the emerging agreement."
Also on Wednesday, Israel's inner cabinet, the Septet, was scheduled to meet
in order to discuss the upcoming STL report.