Representatives of the U.S., France, Qatar, Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia were to meet on Friday to discuss developments in Lebanon. However, late on Thursday, the meeting was postponed, most likely after a Qatari decision following a meeting between Cheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jaber al Thani (Prime minister and Foreign minister of Qatar) and French President.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman had arrived earlier this week to Paris, coming from Tunisia. Feltman’s visit to France, was described by the expert as “multi-layered and holding a macro Middle-Eastern dimension, followed by a Tunisian one.”
Information disclosed about this visit is not homogeneous in political circles. However, rumors say Feltman is launching a counter offensive to the appointment of a new Hezbollah-backed PM in Lebanon to form a cabinet, after they toppled U.S.-backed Saad Hariri’s cabinet on Januray 12.
“There are serious rumors, that remain to be proved, that the Elysee is to give green light to the Mikati/Syrian scenario in Lebanon; however, the French Foreign Ministry and French lobby are not satisfied by the set back of Hariri’s clan,” the source told iloubnan.info.
“Feltman’s visit is a way of launching a counter-offensive on that scenario; yet, the success of this offensive remains pending,” it added.
There were two scenarios for Friday’s meeting; “if the representatives of countries see the Status Quo in Lebanon as acceptable for a while, they will issue a mild statement regarding the new to be-cabinet.” If the situation in Lebanon and dialogue go down on the road, the counter offensive is to be taken further. “They will not attack Mikati in their statement, but they will remain at the skeptical side,” the source told iloubnan.info. “As far as Thursday night, Syria remains uninvolved in Friday’s meeting, a position Syria might consider insignificant or condemn it as an aggression to its choices. “ The source evoked the possibility that the meeting postponment might be due to Syria. The specialist said that the French Foreign Ministry was “furious”, as well as Jeffrey Feltman.
When asked if Feltman’s presence is the reason for Syria’s exclusion, the source did not disregard the option.
The source said that Marwan Hamadeh and Elias Murr, who left to Paris on Wednesday ‘on private visits’ might be meeting Feltman to look into the situation in Lebanon and tell him “things cannot be left this way.”
Moreover, the source confirmed that the Elysee did not call off the visit of the President of the National Assembly to Damascus, explaining that “its President makes his own decisions.&rdquo