Suleiman to Head Friday to Jeddah for Talks with King Abdullah

Posted on: May 31, 2012 at 00:16
President Michel Suleiman is scheduled to travel Friday to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, on a previously unannounced one-day visit, state-run National News Agency reported.

Suleiman’s visit comes after he received on May 22 a letter from the Saudi monarch saying the kingdom is monitoring the situation in Lebanon with “deep concern” following the latest clashes in Tripoli, “especially since they targeted a main sect in the country.”

“We look forward to you ending the crisis, which may spiral into sectarian strife,” Abdullah urged Suleiman in the letter.

He added that Saudi Arabia and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council have “exerted all efforts for the sake of Lebanon on the economic level,” stressing that the kingdom in keen on the country’s stability, sovereignty, and national unity.

“It has not spared any efforts in supporting Lebanon, starting with the Taif Accord and ending with the Doha Agreement” in 2008, continued the monarch.

“You know that these efforts, no matter how great they are, will remain insufficient if all the Lebanese factions fail in placing the people’s interests above all else, but instead favor foreign ones that do not seek Lebanon’s wellbeing,” he stressed.

King Abdullah therefore urged Suleiman to end the crisis through his call for national dialogue and keenness to keep Lebanon away from regional disputes, most notably the Syrian crisis.

Suleiman announced Wednesday that he will visit Kuwait over the weekend “to encourage tourism in Lebanon” after the Gulf country issued a travel warning to Lebanon.

Kuwait was among four Gulf countries that advised its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon and urged its nationals currently present in the country to leave due to the unstable security situation.

The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain issued similar travel warnings after deadly clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli.

Suleiman informed the cabinet that he will head to Kuwait on Sunday on the first leg of his tour of the Gulf.

He said the visit is aimed at “consolidating bilateral relations and encouraging tourism in Lebanon.”

Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has already held talks with the ambassadors of the Gulf states, asking them to review these decisions.

“The situation in Lebanon does not justify them,'' he said.
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