Qatar and Turkey suspended talks on Thursday over Lebanon's political crisis, saying it was time for Lebanese themselves to tackle a dispute over an indictment into the 2005 killing of Sunni statesman Rafiq al-Hariri.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking after two days of talks in Beirut with Lebanon's political leaders, said he and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani had failed to win agreement for their proposals.
He spoke a day after Saudi Arabia, which backs caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri -- son of the slain leader -- said it was abandoning mediation efforts with rival Syria, deepening uncertainty in a country where solutions are usually hammered out between regional powers.
"We presented a draft to all sides that included their demands and was based on the Syrian-Saudi Arabian initiative," Davutoglu said, referring to earlier efforts by Damascus and Riyadh to contain tensions in Lebanon over the indictment.
"The final decision lies with Lebanese groups... This morning we saw from the reactions and responses made to us that there were still some reservations," he told reporters in Istanbul after leaving Beirut shortly before dawn.
"However, if they take a new approach, we are always ready to show effort for Lebanon's stability. But rather than a new effort from us, it's time for the sides to think."
Hezbollah and its allies brought down Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's government last week in a dispute over an indictment which is expected to accuse Hezbollah members of a role in the 2005 killing of Saad's father, Rafik al-Hariri.
Earlier, Sheikh bin Jassim al-Thani and Davutoglu left Beirut shortly before dawn, the national news agency said, heading back to their capitals for consultations.
Setting out ideas
A brief statement issued on their departure said the two men, who held two days of talks with Lebanon's rival politicians, had set out ideas based on an earlier Saudi-Syrian proposal to calm political tensions in Lebanon.
Our "efforts resulted in a working draft that takes into account political and legal demands to resolve the current crisis in Lebanon based on the Syrian-Saudi initiative," a statement said.
"But given certain reservations, they decided to suspend their efforts in Lebanon for the time being and to leave Beirut in order to consult with their leadership," added the statement, issued in the name of Davutoglu and bin Jassem al-Thani.
In comments to Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper published on Thursday, Davutoglu said the situation was now "more positive" than at the start of the week, and suggested there were signs of greater flexibility.
"No one is trying to reject these efforts, and this helps us move towards the details," the paper quoted him as saying. "It would have been difficult for us to achieve any progress if the different parties had kept to their positions from last Sunday."
His comments contrasted with a warning from Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, who said the situation in Lebanon was dangerous and raised the prospect of the country disintegrating along sectarian lines.
Lebanon's political crisis was triggered by a confidential indictment issued on Monday by the prosecutor in a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of billionaire Sunni Muslim former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Lebanese officials and Western diplomats have said they expect the U.N.-backed tribunal to accuse members of the Shiiite group Hezbollah, which denies any role in the assassination and says the tribunal is serving U.S. and Israeli interests.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, and its ministerial allies, brought down the government after Saad Hariri, who has Western and Saudi support, refused their demands to cut Lebanon's links with the tribunal.