Saniora arrives in Moscow for talks on Syria

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora was in Moscow on Friday for talks he hoped would help Beirut smooth its relations with Syria, a Soviet-era ally of Russia. Saniora was due to meet with Igor Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin Security Council, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, among other officials, Russian news agencies reported. "We want to settle our relations with Syria. I think that Russia could make certain efforts in that direction," Saniora told reporters upon his arrival in Moscow late Thursday, the Interfax news agency reported. Saniora has faced thousands of Hizbullah-led opposition supporters who have staged mass protests and daily sit-ins since Dec. 1, demanding a new Cabinet. The protests forced Saniora to live in his office complex in central Beirut, surrounded by security forces and barbed wire. "The Lebanese have no alternative to dialogue," Saniora said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "We mustn't allow the country to split."