Saudi Arabia has launched an initiative to find a compromise that would bridge the gap among Arab leaders over the Lebanese-Israeli withdrawal agreement.
The United States has been counting heavily on the Saudis to help rally Arab support for the accord, but it is still not clear to what lengths the Saudis are willing to go in the face of Syria's vehement opposition.
Crown Prince Abdullah arrived in Libya today on the first leg of a four-nation tour that will subsequently take him to Syria, Jordan and Iraq.
[The Libyan news agency Jana reported that Abdullah met with Qaddafi Saturday night. No details of the meeting were released, according to Reuter.]
His visit to Libya marks the first time in years that a top-ranking member of the Saudi royal family has gone there for talks with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Until recently, Qaddafi viciously attacked the Saudi monarchy and its close alliance with the United States. Saudi Arabia and Libya all but cut their diplomatic relations several years ago. But the Saudis announced earlier this year they were sending back their ambassador to Libya, and last month Qaddafi sent his cousin and confidant, Mohammed Qaddaf Dem, to hold discussions with King Fahd about improving relations.
[Meanwhile, in another sign of diplomatic maneuverings among Arab leaders, the official Iraqi news agency reported that King Hussein of Jordan arrived in Baghdad Saturday on a one-day visit, according to Reuter.]
Libya and Syria have taken the lead in opposing the Israeli-Lebanese withdrawal agreement while Saudi Arabia has tried to straddle the issue by avoiding a clear position and voicing support for both sides.
The Saudis are understood to be promoting a meeting between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Lebanese President Amin Gemayel to discuss the accord. A local press report said today that the meeting might take place in Saudi Arabia.
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Elie Salem began talks today in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah with Foreign Minister Saud Faisal about the Syrian opposition and the possibility of holding an Arab summit on the withdrawal accord. But so far, Arab leaders have showed little sign of support for a meeting.