Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Thursday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Sleiman consultations toward political dialogue hit dead end
Diplomatic action by the opposition, two meetings in Bikfaya and Jeddah
Clinton rejects power vacuum, supports government that does not follow external orders
[Laurent] Fabius: Bashar’s regime expects to export crisis, Lebanon should not be dragged
A week after the Ashrafieh bombing and the assassination of the head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch Brig. Gen. Wissam Hasan, the political crisis seems to have reached a deadlock which makes efforts by President Michel Sleiman toward resuming all-party talks to discuss the government status very difficult.
Informed sources acknowledged that consultations conducted by President Sleiman with the various political leaders and political forces in the country have so far hit a dead end.
While the opposition [March14] rejects any dialogue before the resignation of the government, the majority [March 8] insists on dialogue before the departure of the government as a means to discuss the current situation.
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora will meet Arab and foreign ambassadors Thursday in an attempt to multiply March 14 pressure to bring down the government.
As for coordinated efforts between the opposition groups, An-Nahar has learned that a meeting was held Tuesday evening at Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel’s residence in Bikfaya. The meeting was attended by MPs Ahmad Fatfat and Sami Gemayel in addition to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s advisers Mohammed Shatah and Nader Hariri.
Wednesday afternoon, a delegation comprised of Siniora, MP Nohad Mashnouq , former MP Ghattas Khoury, former minister Mohammad Shatah and Nader Hariri headed to Jeddah for talks with Hariri.
Asiri conveys to Sleiman Saudi concerns over civil peace ... Future Movement delegation to Jeddah
Arab-international consensus to protect Lebanon from Syrian fire
Arab and international concerns mounted over securing civil peace in Lebanon and warding off any negative repercussions of the Syria crisis on Lebanon. It was clear that there is Arab-international consensus to protect Lebanon from Syrian fire.
A Lebanese source told Al-Liwaa that world powers and Arab countries concerned over Lebanon’s stability were carefully following up on consultations carried out by President Sleiman toward resumption of dialogue.
At the Arab level, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awas Asiri met Wednesday with President Sleiman and Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel.
Asiri said his meetings, part of a tour that will include other Lebanese officials, aim at underlining Saudi support for Lebanon’s stability, civil peace and national unity.
Ameed Hammoud: I will arm Sunnis to confront Hezbollah
In his first media appearance, Future Movement’s military officer, retired Col. Ameed Hammoud hits back at accusations of arming and recruiting groups in support of the Syrian revolution.
He confirms some accusations and denies others. Hammoud spoke to Al-Akhbar about a strategy for "arming Sunnis to counter Hezbollah's expansion.
“Strengthening the [Sunni] sect is a religious duty and there is pride in fighting the Syrian regime,” Hammoud said.
Much is being said about the officer, who submitted his resignation after he “felt humiliated by the Lebanese Army's performance" during the events of May 2008 [when then Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from the Future Movement which was loyal to the government at the time.]
Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of killing Brig. Gen. Wissam Hasan
President Sleiman is fighting to keep the government. He hasn’t told his secret to anyone, not even to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri or MP Walid Jumblatt.
A secret envoy dispatched by Berri visited Baabda Palace Wednesday night and conveyed to Sleiman Berri’s support for the present government and that Siniora and the Future Movement will calm down with time and the government will carry on.
Jumblatt agreed with Sleiman to keep the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati as well as his ministers in this government.
Jumblatt also stressed that his MPs will attend parliamentary sessions to secure the necessary quorum if March 14 boycotts the meetings.
Regarding Hasan’s assassination, Future Movement MPs who visited Riyadh in the past two days quoted Saudi officials whom they met as saying that Riyadh believes Iran killed Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan and that Iran, not Syria or Hezbollah, played a key role in the killing.