Saudi Arabia ends effort to mediate in Lebanon crisis

Decision means key US ally won't be involved in efforts to ease tensions in Lebanon after gov't topples; Saudi foreign minister: Situation is "dangerous," could be "end of Lebanon as model of peaceful coexistence."

January 19, 2011 13:39
2 minute read.
The three leaders met in Beirut, Tuesday.

hariri al thani_311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia has abandoned efforts to mediate in Lebanon's political crisis, removing a key US ally from talks to ease tensions after Hizbullah toppled the government in Beirut last week.

In an interview Wednesday with the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV, Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the Saudi king has decided he is "withdrawing his hand" from Lebanon.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

UN prosecutor: Hariri indictment important for Lebanon
Obama welcomes first indictment in Hariri assassination
Lebanon enters a tunnel, the end of which can't be seen

Asked about the situation in Lebanon, al-Faisal said: "It's dangerous, particularly if it reaches separatism or the division of Lebanon. This would mean the end of Lebanon as a model of peaceful coexistence between religions and ethnicities and different factions."

Lebanon is enduring a political crisis stemming from a UN court investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The Shi'ite group, which denies any role in Hariri's 2005 killing, forced the collapse of Lebanon's Western-backed government last week in a dispute over the court. The Iran-and Syria-sponsored group says the tribunal is a conspiracy by Israel and the United States.

Many fear the political crisis could lead to street protests and violence that have been the scourge of this tiny Arab country of 4 million people for years, including a devastating 1975-1990 civil war and sectarian battles between Sunnis and Shi'ites in 2008.

The Hague-based tribunal released a sealed indictment in the case on Tuesday, but its contents may not become public for weeks as Belgian judge Daniel Fransen decides whether there is enough evidence for a trial.

The indictment is the latest turn in a deepening crisis in Lebanon. Last week, ministers from Hizbullah and their allies walked out of the Cabinet when Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri — the son of the slain leader — refused to renounce the tribunal.

Lengthy negotiations lie ahead between Lebanon's factions as they attempt to build a new government. On Tuesday, Turkey's foreign minister was in Beirut in a coordinated visit with Qatar's prime minister to discuss the political crisis in Lebanon.

The officials met with Sa'ad Hariri — who is staying on as a caretaker prime minister — and, separately, with Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

According to Lebanon's power-sharing system, the president must be a Christian Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shi'ite. Each faith makes up about a third of Lebanon's population of 4 million.

Related Content

August 17, 2018
German Jewish council urges end of Iran-Germany trade