TURKEY: Iran's acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrives in Ankara for Lebanon talksRecord ID: 313576
- Title: TURKEY: Iran's acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrives in Ankara for Lebanon talks
- Date: 18th January 2011
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (JANUARY 17, 2011) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SCENES) WIDE OF VIP LOUNGE OF ANKARA AIRPORT CAMERAMAN FILMING IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ALI AKBAR SALEHI WALKING INSIDE VIP LOUNGE SECURITY FORCES IN FRONT OF LOUNGE SALEHI LEAVING VIP LOUNGE AND WAVING HAND AND ENTERING CAR POLICE TAKING SECURITY CAR CARRYING SALEHI LEAVING AIRPORT
- Reuters ID: LVAVGCFTMFUMKA6NMUDMW9G39RI
- Location: Turkey, Turkey
- Country: Turkey
- Duration: 00:00:48
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: Iran's acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara on Monday (January 17) to meet with the Turkish foreign minister.
Salehi will also hold talks with Tayyip Erdogan, earlier the Turkish prime minister met with leaders of Syria and Qatar in Damascus to discuss Lebanon's crisis. The meeting follows on Erdogan's discussions on the issue at the weekend with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Lebanon postponed talks on forming a new government on Monday, leaving regional leaders meeting in Syria to tackle the political crisis triggered by imminent indictments over the killing of Sunni leader Rafik al-Hariri.
A statement from President Michel Suleiman's office said the consultations in Beirut had been put back by a week "after evaluating the different positions of the Lebanese parties".
Last week Shi'ite Hezbollah, along with its allies, brought down the government of Saad al-Hariri, the slain man's son. It said on Sunday it would not back Hariri for another term.
A U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination is expected to issue indictments this week and to accuse members of Hezbollah of involvement.
The militant group, which denies any role in the bombing, had asked Hariri to renounce the tribunal, withdraw the Lebanese judges and freeze Lebanon's funding of it.
Hariri's rejection of the demands triggered the resignation of 11 ministers from Hezbollah and its allies last week.
Hezbollah is backed by Syria and Iran while Hariri enjoys Western and Saudi support, meaning that the deep divisions among Lebanese parties are reflected in tensions between their powerful regional backers.
Tayyip Erdogan, speaking before the talks with leaders of Syria and Qatar in Damascus, said instability in Lebanon was a concern for the whole Middle East. "Our region could not cope with Lebanon entering a new atmosphere of uncertainty," Erdogan said at Istanbul airport.
The political turmoil has stoked sectarian tensions and ratings agency Moody's said it could jeopardise Lebanon's projected 5 percent economic growth in 2011, hitting profits of the country's banking industry.
A spokesman for the tribunal denied reports in Lebanon that the prosecutor had submitted draft indictments on Monday.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he fully supported the tribunal and urged the country to form a new government as soon as possible.
"It is important not to pre-judge the outcome of the investigation, and no one should politicise the work of the tribunal," he told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.
The three leaders meeting in Damascus "affirmed their care to find a solution to this crisis based on the ... Syrian-Saudi efforts to achieve harmony between the Lebanese," an official Syrian statement said after Monday's talks, referring to earlier failed efforts by Saudi Arabia and Syria to forge a deal.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday his movement would fight efforts to tarnish its image.
"We will not allow our reputation and our honour to be touched," he said.
asrallah said leaders from several countries had intervened to demand Hariri be picked again to form the next government, but defended the decision to bring down the last one.
"It was a must to topple the incapable government because bringing it down might -- and I say, might -- open the door for Lebanon to form a loyal government that could carry the burden ... and be responsible," he said.
Lebanon's caretaker Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami summoned U.S. ambassador Maura Connelly over a meeting she held with a Christian Lebanese parliamentarian, who had been a Hariri supporter but later split with him. Shami said the meeting amounted to "interference in Lebanon's internal affairs".
An embassy spokesman said the United States "does not interfere in Lebanon's internal political matters".
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