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Old 12-03-2010   #14
Sheriff Ice
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Published today by Al-Akhbar

AOUN'S VISIT TO IRAN: A "LOW BLOW" TO SLEIMAN
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10. (C) Hariri, who had met President Michel Sleiman earlier in the day, assessed that Sleiman's October 11-12 trip to
Saudi Arabia, coupled with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's trip to Cairo the same week, were positive steps,
particularly for Lebanese Christians. However, Hariri criticized Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun's trip
to Iran, which coincided with Sleiman's stop in Jeddah. "It was a low blow to Sleiman," he scowled, "and also a message
to Saudi Arabia. He lamented that the trip had not seemed to cost Aoun any public support.

11. (C) Returning to Sleiman, Hariri reported that Saudi King Abdullah was happy with the visit and that Sleiman had made a good impression. Hariri accused Syria of intentionally choosing to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon this week in order to "steal the headlines" from Sleiman's visit to Saudi Arabia.




NO TRUST FOR THE TASHNAQ
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13. (C) Noting that it was too soon to form lists for the election, he said that by the end of the year, Geagea, former President and Kataeb leader Amine Gemayel, independent MP Michel Murr, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and himself would decide the lists. In the meantime, it was important for March 14 to reestablish itself with its voting public.
14. (C) Michel Murr had expressed confidence that Hariri and the currently opposition-aligned Armenian Tashnaq would make
a deal in the lead-up to the elections (Ref B). Hariri rejected that prospect, calling the Tashnaq "a bunch of liars." Claiming that the Tashnaq had betrayed his father on a political agreement 1996, he said it was unlikely the Tashnaq would align themselves with March 14. He added that Tashnaq did not need an alliance because it could win seats in Beirut likely to go to Armenians without one. Since Tashnaq is seen as close to Iran, only a split between Iran and Syria would pull the Tashnaq away from the pro-Syrian opposition, he predicted. (Note: The same day, Murr received delegations from Hizballah and the Syrian Baath
party in Lebanon. Murr reported to EmbOffs that the delegations were pressuring him to form a joint list with Aoun in the Metn district, an offer Murr told us he declined.
End note.
ARRESTS IN TRIPOLI LED TO "GOOD INFORMATION"


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