U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman held talks on Wednesday with Speaker Nabih Berri, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Maronite Archbishop of Beirut Boulos Matar and a number of officials, a day after arriving in Beirut on a two-day visit.
He expressed during his talks “the United States’ steadfast support for pluralistic and democratic governments in the region that protect the rights of all citizens, including ethnic and religious minorities,” announced the U.S. Embassy in a statement.
He renewed the United States’ commitment to a stable, sovereign, and independent Lebanon.
Following talks with Feltman, Geagea said discussions tackled “the situation in the region, especially the events and developments in Syria, without discussing a specific date for the end of the crisis.”
Feltman first met with Matar and left after the one-hour meeting that was attended by U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly without making any statement.
He later headed along with Connelly to Ain el-Tineh to meet with Berri.
Voice of Lebanon radio station (93.3) said the U.S. official will hold talks with President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati on Thursday.
Feltman and Connelly also headed to Baaqlin where they conveyed their condolences for the passing of the head of the Druze spiritual authority Sheikh Abu Mohammed Jawad Walieddine.
He also visited Monsignor Mansour Labaki and toured the Kfar Sama Orphanage.
Earlier on Wednesday, March 14 opposition lawmaker Butros Harb told VDL: “It is in our interest in Lebanon to be informed about the American viewpoint on the events in the region.”
“We don’t live on an island and we should interact with others,” he added.
But he stressed that there was no agenda for the talks between the two sides.
An Nahar daily said Tuesday that the U.S. diplomat will meet with several March 14 officials over dinner at Harb’s residence.
Feltman met with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat in Clemenceau on Tuesday night.
Sources close to Jumblat told the Central News Agency that the MP’s talks with Feltman tackled the local and regional political situation.
They both stressed the importance of stability in Lebanon given the critical regional situation.
Jumblat also addressed the Syrian crisis and the importance of maintaining the unity of its people, revealed the sources.
They denied that the two officials had discussed the arms smuggling ship that was heading to Syria that was intercepted by the Lebanese navy last week.
|Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved.||http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/38854|