Berri confirms Doha's initiative, Qatari minister to visit in October


A Qatari envoy has arrived in Lebanon to help break the presidential impasse, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed to Nidaa al-Watan newspaper, in remarks published Friday.

"It is true that there is a Qatari initiative," Berri assured, adding that the envoy has not talked to him yet.

Berri, who had proposed a seven-day dialogue, supported by France, criticized the disagreements between the five-nation group on Lebanon. He said there is no progress regarding his dialogue initiative, after the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement rejected it.

Al-Jadeed TV channel had reported Thursday night that Qatari envoy Abou Fahad Jassem Al-Thani has arrived in Lebanon and started to prepare for a visit by Qatari Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulaziz al-Khulaifi.

Al-Khulaifi will arrive in Lebanon in October to resume the Qatari initiative, al-Jadeed said, adding that the Qatari mission is coordinated with Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Before Qatar, France had initiated last July a "good offices mission", in coordination with the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, to help facilitate the emergence of a consensual solution that will end the institutional crisis.

Opposition forces, including the Lebanese Forces, refused Berri and the French envoy's call for dialogue to agree on a president, preferring to rely on the democratic process.

The envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, proposed to nominate a third candidate to break the impasse, but Lebanese Forces leader said that as long as Hezbollah is refusing a third candidate, the opposition will try to gather more votes for its candidate, former minister Jihad Azour.

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