The opposition-aligned Parties, Forces and Lebanese National Personalities Gathering held a meeting at the headquarters of Syrian Social Nationalist Party in Beirut, after which they issued a statement holding the Lebanese government responsible for Lebanon’s absence from the “unified Arab Summit” in Damascus later this month because of the ruling team’s “intransigence” and insistence on “continuing to usurp authority, rejecting all initiatives and solutions for the election of a President of the Republic and the formation of a national-unity government.”
The result, the statement added, was Lebanon’s deprivation of a chance to get Arab support for a real settlement which would put an end to the crisis in the country. The Gathering called for the ruling team to stop their association with “the American project” and instead work on an agreement with the opposition prior to the summit.
The Gathering also warned the government against taking steps which transgressed the powers of the president or attempting to fill vacancies in “the incomplete, illegitimate” cabinet. The opposition also denounced the visit of the “extremist leader of the neo-conservative administration in Washington,” Vice President Dick Cheney, to the region, which was “a failed attempt to pressure Syria and Iran.”
The Gathering said Cheney made an obvious attempt to mobilize America's allies and push them to increase pressure on Syria prior to the Arab Summit later this month in Damascus, adding that the Bush administration had become mired in a policy which failed to achieve its objectives in the region.