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Lebanon

Talks to find new PM re-scheduled for next week

Reuters/Ali Hashisho

Talks on naming a new premier in crisis-hit Lebanon were postponed on Monday. Parliamentary consultations are now due  to take place on Monday and Tuesday next week. A government collapse last week plunged the country into a crisis that many fear could escalate into violence. 

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Daniel Bellemare, the prosecutor of the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon,  has been investigating the assassination of Lebanon's Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, in 2005. He is set to submit his findings in the case to a pre-trial judge today. The UN court is based in The Netherlands.

The powerful Shiite group Hezbollah accuses the court of being part of a US-Israeli plot. Last Wednesday, Hezbollah forced the collapse of the government of Saad Hariri, son of the slain leader. In a televised speech late Sunday, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Hezbollah, vowed his group would defend itself against the likely charges.

Nasrallah said he believes the indictments would implicate members of his party, a scenario he has repeatedly rejected. The Shiite leader said his party, which is backed by Iran, would disclose in coming days how it planned to defend itself in light of the indictments.

Nasrallah also said his party and its allies would not nominate Hariri for the premiership and accused the United States of scuttling an initiative by regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Syria to forge a compromise on the standoff over the tribunal.

 

 

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