By Jihad Issa, The Foreign Affairs Minister said an exchange of ambassadors would be

The US Ambassador, Jeffrey Feltman, described the approach of Damascus as “another cynical plan of the Syrian government to interfere and to intimidate Lebanon”. Damascus moves include a military court decision to arraign the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Telecommunications Minister, Marwan Hamade, and the journalist Fares Khashan.

Journalist sources in Damascus said the attitude of the Syrian government can be traced back to its diplomatic triumph during the meeting of Arab League on 28 March: it managed to have the issue of ties between Lebanon and Syria dropped from the final statement of the meeting. This had been requested by the 14 March faction, led by the son of Rafic Hariri, MP Saad.

The fact that General Lahoud, a filo-Syrian, is still holding onto the presidency of the Republic, despite calls from parliament for his resignation, is also judged as another positive sign.

Besides, there is anticipation for the visit of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to Syria, planned before the trip of the French President Chirac to Egypt.