BEIRUT: Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri said Monday both Beirut and Riyadh had consulted on the recent decision to postpone President Michel Sleiman’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
“The postponement of the visit [by Sleiman to Riyadh] was based on consultations between the Lebanese and Saudi leaderships,” Asiri said in a clarification statement in response to reports on Sleiman’s visit to Saudi Arabia, according to the National News Agency.
“[It was postponed to] a date in the [near future] that will be announced later,” Asiri said.
Sleiman had been scheduled to visit Riyadh Tuesday for talks with King Abdullah and other senior Saudi officials on the political crisis in Lebanon as well as security challenges facing the country as a result of the repercussions of the 30-month war in next-door Syria.
A statement released by the presidential palace said Sleiman’s visit was postponed to a date to be announced later. The terse statement did not give the reasons for the postponement.
March 8 parliamentary sources told The Daily Star Sunday the postponement was apparently linked to a high-level Saudi-Iranian meeting next month and its positive impact on the Lebanese crisis.
One source in the Hezbollah-led alliance said the postponement came from the Saudi side.
It came a day after Asiri met Sleiman at Baabda Palace to discuss details of the visit.