Report: Jumblat Official Visit to Riyadh 'Optimistic'

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat held “positive” talks with Saudi officials over the weekend, local newspapers reported on Monday.

The three-day official visit was considered as an attempt to bridge the gap between the Druze leader and Saudi Arabia after ties worsened in 2011.

“The visit has opened the doors and that's what's important,” sources close to Jumblat told As Safir newspaper on Monday.

Jumblat returned to Beirut on Sunday night after talks with several senior Saudi officials including Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Second Deputy Premier.

Ties between the Druze leader and Saudi Arabia deteriorated after ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government was toppled by Hizbullah and its allies in 2011.

Jumblat, who is a centrist, played a major role in deciding the fate of the majority alliance that makes up the current Hizbullah-led cabinet.

The March 8 majority led by Hizbullah, backed by some of Jumblat’s 12-member National Struggle Front parliamentary bloc, brought PM Najib Miqati to the premiership after Hariri’s national unity cabinet was toppled.

Comments 6
Thumb mckinl 18 February 2013, 09:52

My, my, my ... reports of the death of Bandar Bush (Prince Bandar bin Sultan) seem to be greatly exaggerated.

So Walid is meeting with the architects of the Fatwah on the Shia. Dancing with the devil can be lucrative but only in the short run.

Thumb andre.jabbour 18 February 2013, 10:59

Jumblatt is such an unstable person. He should be locked up with Aoun, I fear he could hurt himself.

Thumb dasphinx 18 February 2013, 11:49

Jumblat is the most reasonable politician in Lebanon. He knows that there is no immediate solution for the weapons of Hezbollah, so he chose to live with it and neutralize it internally instead of crippling the country by raising M14's ceiling demanding that Hezbollah just surrenders its weapons.

I am totally against Hezbollah's weapons, but the issue has to be addressed strategically not through slogans in the press. Jumblat understood this and I wish the others would do the same.

Thumb mckinl 18 February 2013, 12:11

Hezbollah's weapons may have been on the discussion list of Jumblat and the Saudis but it wasn't in the top ten. Jumblat is in SA to talk about the elections first and foremost. The Saudis know the inept Saad Hariri is not the answer for them in Lebanon. The Saudis are hoping to figure out a way to buy enough seats to counter M8.

Thumb dasphinx 18 February 2013, 13:01

Saudis don't vote but more than half (if not most) of the Lebanese people who are fed up with the so-called resistance do. I support M14 but was critical of their strategy, but that in no way means that I don't think that Hezbollah is a cancer in the body of Lebanon.

Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 18 February 2013, 14:07

the visit of walid beik to saudi arabia is not so simple,it would have not happened without something tangible on the lebanese front ,lets wait and see.