Libano: Hariri dichiara un cauto ottimismo sulla fine delle ostilità
BEIRUT: The head of Lebanon's largest parliamentary bloc said Friday he was "cautiously optimistic" about an imminent solution of the Lebanese-Israeli crisis. MP Saad Hariri arrived in Beirut Friday on board a French helicopter from Cyprus. During the past month, Hariri has traveled to Arab and European countries rallying support for Lebanon and the implementation of an immediate cease-fire.
Speaking at the Grand Serail after meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the Future bloc president said "brotherly and friendly countries are deploying major efforts to reach a resolution" that would end the one-month-old Israeli offensive against Lebanon.
Hariri also said that he has been in constant contact with Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah, which he said was "taking stands in support of the government."
"We are trying to find the means to end this offensive," he said, announcing that "a very important stage is about to start."
Hariri urged all the Lebanese to stand by their government and rally behind Siniora, saying: "This is the moment of truth; the Lebanese should assume their responsibilities by embracing national unity."
"Israel must withdraw from Lebanon and the army should be able to exert its sovereignty over all the Lebanese territories," he added.
Following his conference, Hariri held a closed-door meeting with Berri after which a statement was issued saying the two had discussed the latest developments in the crisis.
Berri also discussed the regional situation on Friday with Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Rida Shibani.
Premier Siniora also met Friday with Italian Ambassador Franco Mistretta and French Ambassador Bernard Emie.
Emie reiterated that negotiations were under way to reach a solution to the crisis.
He also received a telephone call from Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, who asked him to deploy every effort to help the stranded citizens of Rmeich and its surroundings.
Siniora also met with former President Amin Gemayel, who said that the premier's seven-point plan was the best means to resolve the crisis.
France and the United States have been deadlocked over the wording of a new UN resolution, after an earlier draft was rejected by Lebanon and Arab leaders. The United States has been backing Israel's demand that its troops remain in southern Lebanon until an international force arrives, fearing that Hizbullah fighters could retake control of the border zone.
France had wanted a resolution to incorporate Lebanese demands that Israeli troops leave as soon as fighting stops, but Wednesday it proposed Israel be allowed to carry out a phased withdrawal once a truce is reached.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh said earlier that French and US proposals for the UN resolution are unsatisfactory because they do not provide for an immediate cease-fire to end the conflict.