Joint Syrian-Saudi visit to Lebanon to discuss tribunal

Visit with Lebanese leaders about 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will meet in Beirut today in a bid to diffuse tensions over the possible indictment of Hezbollah members in connection with the death of Rafik Hairi. Hezbollah, a militant Shiite Muslim group, is Syria’s main ally in Lebanese politics. Relations between the two countries have slowly improved since the 2005 bombing by Syrian troops that killed Hariri, though Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has criticized the UN tribunal behind the investigation, raising fears of sectarian violence between the Shia and Sunni communities in Lebanon. Assad and King Abdullah are to meet with Lebanon’s leaders, President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. This is Assad’s first visit in five years and points to the increasingly influential roll of Syria in Lebanese politics.

New York Times

BBC News

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