An Event and a Regional Trend

What happens on the Palestinian arena attracts Arab attention and it is clear that the condensed US pressures are still preventing any Arab initiative to activate dialogue between the Abbas group and the leaders of the Palestinian resisting factions led by Hamas. Even Egypt that distinguished itself through a stand that stresses dialogue, and Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for sponsoring the Mecca agreement, did not take any serious decision to move due to the US insistence on following the plan arranged in Washington and Tel Aviv to exploit the Palestinian political division in order to eliminate the Palestinian resistance by any means including assassination, arresting, destruction operations and collective killing that the Israeli occupation army is carrying out now in the occupied lands.
The US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice will visit the area and hold meetings with foreign ministers or officials of the intelligence organs in its Arab team within the framework of the quartet that was formed since the July aggression on Lebanon. Rice will demand, according to available information, specific commitments to the plan that the US and Israel are implementing now in Palestine even if this leads to the return of fighting between the Abbas bloc and the resistance groups.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Lebanese political and press circles focused on the French ambassador Kosran’s visit to Damascus, and what is eye-catching in the Lebanese press circles is the headline on Al-Mustaqbal paper’s front page which denies the occurrence of the visit while the French envoy spent his night in Damascus. This is the only time in which Al-Hariri’s family’s paper attributes incorrect news to French sources and this reveals the nature of the transformation in the French relations and stands concerning Lebanon and the area. This raises a feeling of bitterness and anxiety in the circles of the loyals, who depended in the last few years on a close relation with president Chirac and his team, even in securing the US support. But now it seems that France is adopting a different stand.

Despite belittling the importance of Kosran’s talks, this reminds the Lebanese of the eighties epoch that witnessed a transformation in cooperation with Damascus after stormy years of US-European intervention that accompanied the Israeli invasion and tried to install a client regime that allows using Lebanon as a platform to target Syria. Suddenly, the Lebanese, who were involved in this project have discovered that Western capitals opened the channels of negotiations with Damascus, and consequently they had to pay the bill of the enmities that they slipped into inside Lebanon and against Syria, while the Westerners had enjoyed the warmness of compromises that had opened the way for At-Taif agreement.

Arab and International Press

Arab and international press said that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said that his administration will call for early elections despite Hamas’s rejection of this plan.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat paper quoted the spokesperson for Hams Fauzi Barhum as saying that his government will not allow holding elections in Gaza.
The Israeli press read the speech of President Bashar Al-Assad on the occasion of taking the constitutional oath. Yidiot Aharonot said sources at Olmert’s office announced that the speech is that of "Nos", and Israel will not publicly commit to withdrawal from the Golan. The paper added that the speech seems a speech of peace but it does not reflect an intention to achieve progress in this respect.
The Israeli press quoted the spokesperson for the Israeli foreign ministry as saying that there are communications between Syria and Israel.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted high ranking Israeli sources as saying that a war will erupt this Summer.
Arab Press said that Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf pledged yesterday to launch an open war against the Islamic militias that target the Pakistani army
The Israel paper Ha’aretz quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the surveyor, who was authorized by the UN to identify the size of Sheba farms, decided that the size of the farms ranges between 20 and 40 square kilometers from the origin of seventy kilometers which is the size of Harmoun Mountain.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said that the French envoy Kosran’s talks aim at defrosting the ice in relations between Syria and France since the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, quoting the French foreign minister Bernard Kuchner as saying that the visit is an initiative on the road of calming down.
Lebanese press said that Kosran declared after meeting foreign minister Al-Mualllem that he informed Syrian officials about the results of the Paris meeting and that Al-Muallem agreed that the French initiative helped to activate dialogue among the Lebanese sides.
Lebanese press quoted diplomat sources in Damascus as saying that Kosran’s visit takes place within an introductory preparation for the visit of French foreign minister Kuchner to the area.
Lebanese press focused on developments in Nahr Al-Bard camp; pointing out that clashes are approaching their end.
Ad-Diyar quoted the press spokesperson of Fath Al-Islam group as denying the movement’s relation to the assassination of Representative Piere Gemayel. The press focused on developments in Jezzin area where an explosive charge went off in Kafrfalus town, pointing out that the army diffused a second double explosive charge in the same area.

Arab Satellite Stations Interviews

Al-Alem
Program: Under Light
Head of the Syrian journalists union Elias Murad said that the US administration faces repeated crises in the area after its failure in Iraq.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said warmness returned to the Syrian-French relations while the NTV said the Syrian-French honey days may cast their shadow on the stumbling Lebanese political theatre.
The NBN wondered if France will be able to diffuse the mines in the area and solve Lebanese crisis, while the LBC said the spokeswoman for the French foreign ministry has belittled the importance of Kosran’s visit to Damascus. For its part, the Future said the Lebanese file is present in New York and Damascus with all its ramifications.

Television Stations Interviews in Lebanon

NBN
Program: The Other Dimension

Former minister Suleiman Frnjiah said the Lebanese army should pay attention to the trap set by some of the majority forces.

The Future
Program: The Merit
Minister Ahmed Fatfat said holding the conference in Paris is a success for it, pointing out that there is a apolitical team that does not want meeting in Beirut before solving the government problem.