Monday, February 18, 2008
Mussa in Lebanon Next Week as US Rejects AL Initiative
"18/02/2008 The 26th of February is the date set to elect Lebanese army commander General Michel Suleiman president of the republic. The 24th of February is the date set for Arab League chief Amr Mussa to return to Lebanon with a new attempt to solve the political crisis under the Arab initiative. Mussa would join representatives from the opposition and the loyalty bloc in a meeting similar to the quartet meeting he held in his last visit with MP General Michel Aoun, the head of the Future Movement MP Saad Hariri and former President Amine Gemayel.
Mussa told the Future News TV that he contacted Lebanese officials and hoped that "the atmosphere in Lebanon would be supportive to the Arab initiative, dialogue and elections in the framework of consensus on the initiative."......
But "what is the Arab initiative?" scornfully asked David Satterfield, Charge d'Affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America in Baghdad, Iraq. "The US initiative however calls for free elections and opposes Syrian and Lebanese opposition demands," he told Arab journalists in Paris last week.
What attracted attention the most was Mussa's silence as to Satterfield's remarks. On the eve of his latest visit to Lebanon, the Arab League chief received US Under-Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch in Cairo. According to reports, discussions between the two focused on Lebanon, however neither Welch nor Mussa announced a position in this regard.
Lebanon and perhaps the region are waiting for Mussa's visit to Lebanon eight days from today for some answers or as some observers say, to announce the death of the initiative at US hands. "