Saudi-Syria Compromise based on Lebanon's Withdrawal from STL before Jan. 15, Report

A Saudi-Syria compromise based on Lebanon's withdrawal from the international tribunal is likely to be announced by January 15, the daily Al-Akhbar newspaper said Wednesday.

It said Syrian President Bashar Assad updated President Michel Suleiman during a Dec. 26 phone call on the content of his conversation with Saudi King Abdullah and his son Prince Abdul Aziz regarding the Syrian-Saudi compromise "which is near-completion."

Damascus, according to what Assad informed Suleiman, is waiting for Prince Abdul Aziz's visit to put the final touches on that settlement, in light of the answers Assad is expecting to hear from King Abdullah who is recuperating in New York from back surgery.

Damascus reflected the positive impression of visitors to senior Syrian officials, who said the compromise is likely to be announced "anytime from now till Jan. 15."

Al-Akhbar said that despite Damascus' insistence that no one could disclose content of the Saudi-Syria settlement, only three insiders were really up-to-date with the deal --King Abdullah, Assad and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

It said the very little known about the deal – which ought to be announced before the indictments are issued – maintains that Lebanon reconsider its position on the STL and take the necessary action to pull out of the U.N.-backed tribunal in line with legal, security, judicial and financial obligations stated in the agreement with the United Nations to establish the STL. The key issue, according to Al-Akhbar, is for Lebanon to "withdraw" from the tribunal and not call for its annulment.