Lebanon delays govt talks, awaits summit result in Syria

Lebanon postponed talks on a new government shortly before regional leaders were due to meet in Syria to discuss the political crisis.

Lebanon delays govt talks, awaits summit result in Syria

Lebanon postponed talks on a new government on Monday, shortly before regional leaders were due to meet in Syria to discuss the political crisis triggered by imminent indictments over the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri.

A statement from President Michel Suleiman's office said the consultations had been put back by a week "after evaluating the different positions of the Lebanese parties".

Last week, Shi'ite Hezbollah, along with its allies, brought down the government of Saad al-Hariri, the slain Sunni leader's son. It said on Sunday it will not back Hariri for another term.

A U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing is expected to issue indictments this week and to accuse some members of Hezbollah of involvement.

Hezbollah has several times denounced the Netherlands-based tribunal as a conspiracy by the US and Israel.

Hariri's rejection of the demands triggered the resignation of 11 ministers from Hezbollah and its allies last week.

"Summit in Syria"

Leaders of Syria, Qatar and Turkey were due to meet in Damascus on Monday to discuss the crisis over the tribunal.

"We will not allow our reputation and our honour to be touched," Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address on Sunday night.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, speaking before leaving for Damascus to meet President Bashar al-Assad and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, said instability in Lebanon was a concern for the whole Middle East.

"Our region could not cope with Lebanon entering a new atmosphere of uncertainty," Erdogan said at Istanbul airport.

"With this visit we want to discuss what we can do to overcome this crisis and what other countries in the region must do for Lebanon's stability."

Erdogan also said Iran's foreign minister would visit Turkey on Monday evening after Erdogan discussed the issue at the weekend with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Nasrallah said leaders of several countries had intervened to demand Hariri be picked again to form the government, but defended the decision to bring down his government.

"It was a must to topple the incapable government because bringing it down might -- and I say, might -- open the door for Lebanon to form a loyal government that could carry the burden ... and be responsible," he said.

"International meeting on Lebanon"

Meanwhile, Erdogan said Monday that he received an invitation from French President Nicolas Sarkozy for an international meeting on recent political crisis in Lebanon.

He told reporters, "President Sarkozy sent a letter inviting us to the international meeting on Lebanon. And we responded his invitation in the affirmative. Seven countries have been invited to the meeting so far. Date of the gathering will be set later." 


Agencies


Related news reports:

Hezbollah not to back new Hariri government

Last Mod: 17 Ocak 2011, 22:54
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