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Saudi, Syria fail to reach Lebanon deal-Aoun

By Reuters

Saudi Arabia and Syria have failed to reach a deal aimed at curbing political tension in Lebanon over the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri, Lebanese Christian politician Michel Aoun said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia and Syria, powerful regional players who have traditionally backed rival camps in Lebanon, have worked since July to forge a compromise which would curb tensions over the UN-backed tribunal investigating Hariri's killing.

The Saudi and Syrian initiative "has ended without a result", Aoun told a televised news conference.

Diplomats expect members of the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah to be named in draft indictments which the tribunal's prosecutor is likely to send to a pre-trial judge this month.

Hezbollah, which has ministers in the unity government led by Rafik Hariri's son, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, has denied any involvement in the killing and urged Saad Hariri to renounce the investigation.

Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, blamed supporters of Saad Hariri for the failure to reach agreement. "Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's team has not responded to the (Saudi and Syrian) efforts and we have reached a dead end," he said.

Aoun called for a meeting of opposition ministers later on Tuesday to discuss the stalemate.