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Tension grows in Lebanon ahead of tribunal talks

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Tension grows in Lebanon ahead of tribunal talks


Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud has said the country’s cabinet has lost its legitimacy and is unconstitutional. It follows the resignations of five Shi’ite Muslim ministers, including two from Hizbollah. Their departures are due to a stalemate in talks for a national unity government, and leaves the Shi’ites, the country’s largest single sect, out of power. Hizbollah has threatened to hold mass protests unless its demand for more seats in the cabinet is met.

The government is due to meet today to discuss draft UN plans for a tribunal for those suspected of killing the anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005. Saad al-Hariri, the head of the parliamentary majority and son of the assassinated leader, urged ministers to push ahead with the plans.

He directly accused Syria and Iran of seeking to scuttle the formation of the international tribunal.
Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was killed in a truck bombing in February 2005. The assassination has overshadowed Lebanese politics since that date. A UN investigation has already implicated senior Syrian officials and their Lebanese counterparts.

Damascus denies any involvement in the killing.

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