Mikati to An-Nahar: I go to Paris and my hand is extended to the opposition
While no new developments are expected to occur to break the deadlock on the local scene, attention this week will focus on three consecutive events: the visit of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to France, President Michel Sleiman’ speech on the political crisis on Independence Day and the diplomatic, political and religious participation of Lebanon in the Vatican's ceremony to honor Beshara Rai with the post of Cardinal.
Mikati voiced his relief with regards to the visit, where he will meet President Francois Hollande Wednesday.
He spoke to An-Nahar on the night of his visit and said: "I go to Paris and my hand is extended to the Lebanese, particularly the opposition. But until a joint solution is agreed on, this government will go on with its productivity and maintenance of political and security stability in the country as well as its openness to the international community."
As for the internal situation, An-Nahar obtained information from sources within the National Struggle Front that the front's ministers and the leadership of the Progressive Socialist Party will begin an initiative based on a memorandum to bridge the gap between the March 8 and March 14 coalitions.
Mursi speaks of indications for a ceasefire without guarantees and Fabius today in Jerusalem and Ramallah
For the fourth consecutive day, Israel's F-16s drown the Gaza Strip and so does the blood of women, men, elderly and children where 17 martyrs have fallen as a result of the aggression of "The Pillar of Cloud." Benjamin Netanyahu’s government continues its aggression against the Gaza Strip amid a frightening international silence with an Arab-Turkish attempt to formulate a cease-fire agreement "with no guarantees" as Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi said.
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will visit Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Tel Aviv Sunday to hold talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials.
In Jerusalem, Fabius will meet with Israeli prime minister and its foreign minister as well as the Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, according to a statement by the French Embassy in Israel. In the afternoon, he will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Although Hamas, which is governing Gaza, is undertaking its first confrontation with Israel since it withdrew from the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah alliance to join the Cairo-Ankara-Doha one, which has good relations with Israel, the confrontation has not achieved its purpose or goals in the eyes of Tel Aviv and Gaza. Escalatory rhetoric still reigns between the two, particularly from Israel's war leaders who have deployed reserve soldiers and use more weapons and arms of destruction.
Contacts with Hamas [urging it] not to open a front from Lebanon
Contacts are ongoing with Hamas urging the movement not to do anything from Lebanon against Israel in solidarity with the Gaza Strip's Hamas which is resisting Israeli Army's missiles. Reports were referred to officials of phone calls between Hamas' leadership in Gaza and its leadership in Lebanon, urging the latter to take action to lessen Israel's pressure on Gaza.
Hamas in Lebanon is studying ways to demonstrate support of the Palestinian people and the possibility of launching rockets to Israel from Lebanese territory, therefore security agencies were tasked with contacting Hamas and asking it not to undertake any military action from Lebanon. In principle, Hamas agreed and said it would not do so.
On another note, the Progressive Socialist Party launched contacts with members of both the March 8 and 14 coalitions to form a national unity government amid dangers in the Middle East and the current war in Gaza between Hamas and the Israeli Army.
But this attempt reached a dead-end when the Future Movement rejected the idea of a National Unity government, insisting on a neutral one.
Therefore, the PSP's proposal failed. Future Movement believes that if they have a better chance of winning the elections if they run as an opposition rather than joining a National Unity government with Hezbollah and Amal Movement, which could hurt their popular base in the parliamentary polls.