An Event and a Regional Trend

The Arab meetings and communications concerning Annapolis conference try to focus on marketing the Israeli-Palestinian paper which does not include any real commitments to solve the issues of Jerusalem, the refugees return and the settlements blocs.
The only thing which was considered as positive in the tripartite summit among Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian authority is the US declaration to establish the Palestinian state before the end of Bush’s term.
Palestinian sources said that the former US administrations did not respect any previous dates and this applies to the road map and Oslo, warning from giving up Palestinian national rights in the shadow of the preparations to hold a national Palestinian conference that aims at unifying the Palestinian efforts to confront the new condition after Annapolis.
The US determination to hold the meeting pushes the Arab allies of Washington to attend it while there are no positive results in the horizon related to the Palestinian track due to the Israeli intransigent stand which is supported by the US. — The declaration of principles will repeat the previous formulas while the US pressure will concentrate on expanding the circle of Arab relations with Israel and strengthening Olmert’s political status which was shaken by July war last year.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The initiative launched by general Michel Aoun yesterday briefly revived hope concerning holding residential elections but this impression quickly dissipated in the aftermath of the violent and escalating statement of March 14 forces which rejected the imitative.
The loyalists started to talk about resorting to naming a president outside the two thirds quorum, while some analysts said the tone of the loyalists’ statement aimed at restoring integration after the objections of the Christian loyalists against Saad Hariri’s and Walid’s Jumblatt’ s movements.
The US veto prevented the election of the candidate Michel Eddé and the Americans asked the loyalists to delay solving the presidential merit until after Annapolis conference and that is what was declared by the minister Marwan Hamade. Meanwhile the US work to leave Fouad Siniora in his position, while the Lebanese look forward to the step that the president Emile Lahoud may take before the end of his term which is authorizing the army ’s leadership and the military council to preserve the state’s general peace..
The Lebanese crisis enters today a new stage which is called by the US ambassador as the directing of the vacuum and if the loyalists violate the constitution the political confrontation will take place.
The French and European communications failed due to the US stand and it seems that the US decided to prevent conciliation and predictions will continue about the possible results of the vacuum.
Meanwhile the opposition will strongly retaliate if prime minister al-Siniora practices the president’s authorities.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan paper said Lebanon faces the zero hour and Lahoud’s presidential term ends at midnight while it seems that the country is open to many dangers and turning points if the sides do not reach a solution.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that the Israeli president Shimon Perez announced that reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians during Bush’s term is practically impossible.
Emile Landau said in an article published in some Israeli papers that Iran started since last Summer negotiations with the international atomic energy agency to clarify the suspended issues concerning its nuclear program but the size of Iran’s progress in the enrichment of Uranium is not clear yet.
Alex Fishman said in an article published in some Israeli papers that high ranking officials at the Pentagon expressed recently their deep anxiety from the new Iranian ballistic missile Ashura whose range is 2000-2500 kilometers.
The Iranian weekly Sada said at the conclusion of the journalism fair in Tehran president Nejad offered gifts and prizes to the papers that criticized the policy of the president and the government.

Satellite Satiations’ Interviews

Special Covering
Representative Miche Aoun proposed an initiative to name a candidate to be elected through the two thirds quorum. The initiative also provides for naming a prime minister from outside the Future Trend by Saad Hariri. This prime minister will be committed to the international Tribunal and the government will consist of 55% loyal ministers and 45% from the opposition while each of the two asides will have a sovereign portfolio.

Television Stations’ news in Lebanon

Al-Manar said general Aoun absorbed all the pressures and gave conciliation its real meaning.
The NTV said the European troika ministers said Al-Siniora government can stay in power and rule the country in accordance with the constitution.
The NBN said the coming hours may witness a miracle on the level of solving the presidential merit.
The OTV said General Michel Aoun is the only one who has the solution for Lebanon’s crisis.
The LBC said patriarch Sfeir fears the second vacuum and his Maronite sons betrayed him.
The Future said the presidential electoral session is now in the eye of the storm.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Program: The Hour’s talk
Representative Abbas Hashem said Aoun’s initiative rescues the republic and March 14 forces responded in a wrong way.
Former minister Naji al-Bustani wondered why the paper of understanding was rejected while the ministerial statement of the current government commits to resistance more than the paper.
Head of the Phangalists party Kareem Bakradouni called for seriously studying Aoun’s initiative.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.