As the Lebanese president Michel Suleiman wraps up his first official visit to Syria, the regional media outlets are dedicating their resources and efforts to broadcast every event, announcement and speculation surrounding the trip. The major announcement circulating in the media is the agreement between both presidents to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time since their independence. Naturally, the local blogosphere too has been busy reporting news and opinions on the visit and what it holds for the future of Lebanon.
Zentor at In the Middle of the East posts his argument that such a relation between both countries will re-establish Syria’s international status and even regain control over Lebanese soil:
It seems that, for the first time since its independence in 1943, Lebanon might soon have an embassy of one of its two neighbours installed in Beirut. Syria finally seems to have entered the 21st century and renounced its claims on Lebanon as a part of ‘Bilad ash-Sham’. Bashar wants to ride the Sarkozy-initiated wave and recapture Syria’s international status and will open a Syrian embassy. It is reportedly to be installed in the building (or what’s left of it) that used to house the US embassy until that was blown up in a spectacular action of Islamic Jihad during the civil war in 1983, which killed numerous CIA operatives from all over the Middle East who had gathered there for a meeting. That leaves one neighbour without diplomatic relations – and they are not likely to be established anytime soon either…
Tajaddod Youth’s blog reports on the memorandum handed to the President prior to his visit by the pro-government party 14 March. This memo reflects the party’s visions and recommendations on establishing the Syrian- Lebanese ties:
The Memorandum lists the seven key steps that are needed to put the Lebanese-Syrian relations on the right track: ending all ties to armed groups in Lebanon, refraining from any act that would jeopardize Lebanon’s stability and security; border demarcation; diplomatic relations; release of Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails; revising the Lebanese-Syrian “Fraternity, Cooperation and Coordination Treaty” and all subsequent bilateral conventions.
Bilad ash-Sham’s blogger writes in his post that he is unsatisfied with the President's response to Tripoli's bomb incident that coincided with the visit:
While Lebanese were dying in Tripoli yesterday, your good President was taking his orders from Damascus. He was smiling, and happy. Did he rush back upon hearing the news of terrorism in Lebanon? Did he postpone his meetings, his coffee, his lunches and dinners? No. This is how your leaders care for you, ya lubneniun [oh Lebanese].
Now Lebanon posted an exclusive article backed by a Syrian source that breaks down key elements of the visit's accomplishments and announcements:
Syrian sources participating in the summit on Wednesday between Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, said that the meeting lasted three hours, and the atmosphere was excellent and amicable…
…The Syrian sources told NOW Lebanon that Wednesday’s discussions covered exchanging ambassadors, border demarcation, the Lebanese missing and detained in Syrian prisons and reviewing past treaties and accords between the two countries.
They added that the topics were discussed in a transparent way, in a comfortable and clear atmosphere, and the presidents spoke of their desire to return the relations between both countries to normal.
Meanwhile, LEBANESE TAG blog withheld from posting any analysis or speculations about the visit at this point and posted a few photos only.