Lebanese official appeals to Russia on crisis

A Lebanese parliament leader held talks with a senior Kremlin official Tuesday, urging Russia to help settle Lebanon's simmering political crisis. Saad Hariri, leader of the parliamentary majority and the leading Sunni opponent of Hizbullah, said after talks with Igor Ivanov, the secretary of Russia's presidential Security Council, that Moscow could help reduce tensions by talking to its allies. "Moscow has a decisive role in the region, and we would like to see Russia's friends in the region heeding its advice," Hariri told reporters after the talks in an apparent reference to longtime Russia's ally Syria, which backs Hizbullah. In a separate interview with the ITAR-Tass news agency, Hariri was quoted as saying that Syria "plays an extremely negative role in the region."