Hizbullah to send former minister to Paris talks
Hizbullah will send a former cabinet member to participate in all-party talks in France aimed at breaking Lebanon's political crisis, the Shiite opposition movement said on Friday. It has assigned senior official Mohammed Fneish to the two-member team, along with foreign affairs chief Nawaf Mussawi, a spokesman told AFP.
Fneish was energy minister in the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora before stepping down along with five other pro-Syrian ministers late last year. After talks with a French envoy who delivered invitations for the mid-July dialogue, Mussawi confirmed on Wednesday that Hizbullah welcomes the initiative, which showed France was "standing alongside the Lebanese without taking sides."
The meeting will take place on July 14-16 with between 30 and 40 delegates taking part, the foreign ministry in Paris announced on Friday, rather than July 14-17 as announced by the envoy while in Beirut.
Two members of the Siniora government, Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamadeh and Youth Minister Ahmed Fatfat, are also to take part in the meetings outside Paris. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is to play the role of moderator.