Quintet's initiative: Saudi and Iranian envoys forge new paths in Lebanon

Press Highlights
2024-01-23 | 01:28
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Quintet's initiative: Saudi and Iranian envoys forge new paths in Lebanon
Quintet's initiative: Saudi and Iranian envoys forge new paths in Lebanon

As part of the "Quint" ambassadors' initiative, the Saudi ambassador, Walid Al-Bukhari, received the Iranian ambassador, Mojtaba Amani, in their first direct meeting on Monday at his residence in Yarzeh.

This article is originally published in, translated from Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria.
Official information distributed after the meeting stated that "it included a presentation of the most prominent political developments in the Lebanese and regional arenas, in addition to bilateral relations between the two countries, and the exchange of views on various issues of mutual interest."

Sources close to the atmosphere of the meeting between Al-Bukhari and Amani told "Al-Joumhouria" that it "comes within the framework of Iranian-Saudi meetings witnessing further improvement, from which Lebanon benefits from its repercussions."

These sources indicated that before this meeting, a previous station or meeting was represented by the Iranian ambassador and the Chargé d'Affaires of the Syrian embassy in Lebanon accepting Al-Bukhari's invitation to a dinner attended by a group of Arab and foreign ambassadors.

Their participation was notable, especially the Saudi emphasis on this participation and the significant Saudi warmth towards the Iranian ambassador, reflected in the meetings between the two ambassadors.

The same sources mentioned that what is also noteworthy is that the meeting between Al-Bukhari and his Iranian counterpart came a few days after the latter's interview with Al-Mayadeen channel, in which he explained Iran's perspective on the presidential file to the Lebanese public in general and the Christian community specifically.

The sources revealed that Amani has been holding meetings for weeks for this purpose, some of which were announced, including his meeting on Monday with the Saudi ambassador, and others were undisclosed, including a meeting he held two days ago at the Iranian embassy with the former leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt.

The meeting included dinner, and discussions covered the situation in the south, the Israeli war on Gaza, and developments in the region in general, as well as the Lebanese presidential file.

The sources clarified that the discussion between Al-Bukhari and Amani addressed two issues:

The first is the Gaza issue and related developments, which are considered an Iranian priority. The discussion focused on the repercussions of the Gaza war on neighboring countries, including Lebanon.

Preventing the expansion of the war is of interest to both Iran and Saudi Arabia, primarily since Saudi Arabia had hosted and presided over the summit of Arab and Islamic countries for Gaza on November 11, 2023, in Riyadh.

As for the second issue discussed by Al-Bukhari and Amani, it was the Lebanese presidential file, which has two aspects. The first aspect relates to the emergence of a new approach within the Arab-international Quintet group.

This new approach calls for separating the Lebanese presidential mandate from the conditions that the Quintet was trying to impose on Hezbollah regarding its weapons and other conditions and issues.

The Quintet has decided to separate the presidential file from other issues raised and deal with the presidential mandate separately from political disputes, based on the belief that Lebanon urgently needs to build a new authority given the prevailing conditions in the country and the region.

The sources pointed out that when Al-Bukhari recently returned from Riyadh, he carried this Quintet approach of separating the presidential mandate from political disputes. 

On this basis, he embarked on meetings with political and religious leaders and some Arab and foreign ambassadors, including the French Ambassador Hervé Magro.

The same sources stated that the Quintet did not initially include Iran, making it a sextet. Still, the meeting between Al-Bukhari and Amani on Monday gained significant importance because it made the spectrum of Iran present in Quintet meetings. 

Iran's ideas for a Lebanese presidential solution are now on the table, both within and outside the Quintet.

Meanwhile, informed sources on the meeting confirmed to "Al-Joumhouria" that it would positively impact all issues in Lebanon due to the influence of both Saudi Arabia and Iran on the internal Lebanese situation.

They revealed that the discussion did not delve into the details of the presidential file, but there was an agreement to expedite the election of a president by Lebanese consensus. 

There was also agreement on the stability of Lebanon at this sensitive stage, and therefore, the meeting will enhance the security network for the benefit of Lebanon.

The sources added that the essence of the meeting between Al-Bukhari and Amani "is directly related to the Saudi-Iranian agreement, which is more significant to be broken down into small details. 

The main message is that both parties are open to all components and sects, and Saudi Arabia is keen to send a message to the Shia community that it has an excellent relationship with them, as history testifies, especially in the relationship with Sayyed Moussa al-Sadr and religious figures. The goal is to reject the discourse of hatred."

In addition, the sources considered that the Yarzeh Arab Summit wanted to confirm that the relationship between the Kingdom and Tehran is based on development, and there is nothing to shake it.

This is a natural translation of the first official meeting of its kind. The second meeting was after a dinner in Phoenicia, which Al-Bukhari invited under Sustainable Diplomacy to secure a safety net for Lebanon.

They revealed that the Saudi ambassador may participate in activities the Iranian embassy will invite. It can be said that the official track has now started on Lebanese soil.

The sources denied that the discussion during the meeting touched on Iran joining the Quintet. Al-Bukhari wanted this meeting to be friendly and calm, especially in the Saudi Arabian "Sadu" tent.

The essential thing in the meeting is that an agreement was reached between the two parties on the security and stability of Lebanon at this critical stage, which strengthens the deal to consider Lebanese national security as a common element between the two countries.

Moreover, other sources reported that during the meeting, there was a "discussion of the Lebanese political situation, especially the presidential deadline, as well as the security situation in the south, Gaza, and the effort made to stop the Israeli aggression against it."

Sources following up on this meeting placed it "within the framework of Saudi openness to all parties, confirming the importance of agreement between Tehran and Riyadh in the region, facilitating rapprochement and agreement on the election of a president." 

Additionally, they considered Iran, in addition to President Berri, as the reliable link for Saudi Arabia with Hezbollah unless there is direct communication between the Saudi ambassador and Hezbollah as part of Saudi openness to facilitate resolving the Lebanese crises.

Lebanon News

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Saudi Arabia


Walid Al-Bukhari

Mojtaba Amani









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