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Sixth resignation strains Beirut government further

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Sixth resignation strains Beirut government further


Despite the resignation of a sixth pro-Syrian minister the Lebanese government has met to consider plans for a special UN court to try suspects in the assassination of former premier Rafik al-Hariri. Pro-Syrian President Emil Lahoud had argued that any decision reached by the reduced cabinet would be unconstitutional.

Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf, a Christian, joined five Muslim colleagues in stepping down over the failure of talks on their demands for effective veto power in the government. Four of the five Muslim members are from Hizbollah. The anti-Syrian majority on the coalition has accused the Shi’ite group of trying to bring down the Western-backed government. They also claim Hizbollah members are aiming to foil efforts to set up the Hariri court. UN investigators suspect he was killed by pro-Syrian agents.

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