United or divided: What did the quintet agree and disagree on?
The U.S. has denied any disagreement between the members of the five-nation group on Lebanon who convened last week in New York but failed to issue a statement.
U.S. regional spokesman Samuel Werber denied any disagreement between France, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the U.S., affirming in an interview Sunday with al-Jadeed TV channel, that the five members all agree that Lebanon must carry out reforms. "The meeting of the five-nation committee was one of the most important meetings on Middle East affairs, and there is no disagreement between the members," he said.
Meanwhile, al-Akhbar newspaper quoted former Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat as saying that the disagreement between the members was not about Lebanon, but about the Niger file where France is facing a difficult situation, as the U.S. rejected an international military intervention in the West African country.
Jumblat reportedly said that if France backpedals on supporting Suleiman franjieh to go along with KSA, it will not adopt the United State's candidate, army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun., nor will KSA allow Qatar to strengthen its influence in Lebanon without anything in return.
"We will remain in contact with all parties," Werber said, adding that the presidential election is a Lebanese affair and that the U.S. cannot "impose its will" on the Lebanese but is ready to provide "any technical assistance if needed."
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri had sarcastically said last week that "we will end up reconciling the five nations ourselves", amid reports of disagreements between its members, while Jumblat said that "the quintet has become a quartet."