Jumblat Denies Report on 'Canceled' Meeting with Kerry

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Friday denied voicing any dismay over the fact that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did not meet with him during his latest visit to Beirut.

“These reports are totally baseless and no appointment had been scheduled for meeting Secretary Kerry in the first place,” Jumblat said in a statement, noting that his “deep and old friendship” with the U.S. official predates his term of office as Washington's top diplomat.

According to the statement, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale conveyed Kerry's “warm greetings” to Jumblat on Thursday, one day after the secretary of state made a five-hour unannounced visit to Lebanon.

The PSP leader said he “fully understands” the circumstances of the visit of Kerry, who limited his meetings in Lebanon to Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Speaker Nabih Berri and Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.

He called on media outlets to “keep away from the fabrication of fictional stories that have nothing to do with reality.”

Ad-Diyar newspaper reported Friday that the U.S. embassy had set an appointment for Jumblat with Kerry and that PSP officials had mobilized to welcome the guest and taken measures in the vicinity of Jumblat's residence in Clemenceau.

But according to Ad-Diyar, the PSP leader was informed two hours before the scheduled meeting that the appointment was canceled due to tight time constraints and the delay of Kerry's plane.


Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.