Assad: Ties with Lebanon possible after national unity cabinet forms

Syrian President Bashar Assad says establishing diplomatic ties with Lebanon will be possible if a national unity Cabinet is formed in Beirut. Assad, in an interview with Kuwaiti newspapers published Thursday, said it was "not suitable" to open an embassy in Beirut when relations between the two countries were "not good." But he said that after last month's Doha agreement that ended a political stalemate in Lebanon, "things started going in a better direction." The Arab-League brokered deal allowed for the election of a president and paved the way for a 30-member unity Cabinet, including members of Syria's ally Hizbullah. Damascus dominated Lebanon for nearly three decades before the outcry over the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri forced it to withdraw its troops from that country.