Hezbollah closely monitoring STL developments

January 19, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN - High-ranking Turkish and Qatari officials held talks with Lebanese officials in Beirut on Tuesday, and a Hezbollah source said that anything could happen after the indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) over the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is announced.

In an interview with the As-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper published on Tuesday, a Hezbollah source said that the party is closely monitoring developments of the tribunal’s activities in The Hague.
“After the indictment is issued, matters will take their course accordingly… the post-indictment phase will not be like the pre-indictment one at all,” the source stated.
On Monday, the STL announced that tribunal Prosecutor General Daniel Bellemare has submitted the draft indictment over the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told As-Safir that the joint Syrian-Saudi Arabian effort to resolve the dispute over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is dead.
He added that the opposition’s decision, whereby the pre-indictment period is different from the post-indictment one, had come into force as of Tuesday afternoon.
Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri’s government collapsed on Wednesday after 10 ministers of the opposition and one minister close to President Michel Suleiman resigned from the cabinet, which provided the necessary number of resignations for the government to fall.
----------- High-ranking Qatari, Turkish officials visit Beirut
The Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported on Tuesday that Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Beirut on Tuesday to brief officials and other figures involved in the issue on the results of the tripartite Damascus summit, in which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Monday to hold talks on the Lebanese crisis.
The Turkish and Qatari officials first met with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, and then met Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, and a high-ranking Hezbollah official.
Following the summit on Monday, Assad, Erdogan, and Sheikh Hamad called for serious efforts to find a solution to the Lebanese crisis based on the “Syrian-Saudi good offices.”
The Damascus correspondent of the Lebanese daily As-Safir said that the tripartite summit meeting emphasized once again the importance of the Syrian-Saudi initiative as a means to achieve a consensus solution in Lebanon. At the same time, the summit participants reportedly hailed the postponement of the parliamentary consultations to nominate a new prime minister, he added.
The Lebanese president has delayed the parliamentary consultations on selecting a new prime minister, which were scheduled to be held on Monday, until next week.
-----------More consultations expected
As-Safir reported that it is expected that a series of consultations will be held in the next few days between Lebanese leaders and the Syrian leadership in Damascus.
The meetings started on Tuesday, with Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwaji’s meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The daily says it has learned that contacts will extend on a broader spectrum in the coming days and are set to include the leaders of other states, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and France, which once again presented its proposal to form an international contact committee.
As-Safir also reported that the Saudi cabinet warned political forces in Lebanon about the danger of strife and serious problems in the wake of the fall of the Lebanese cabinet against the backdrop of the crisis over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported that Assad held discussions with Erdogan and Sheikh Hamad on the details of recent events and briefed them on the complete picture.
------------ Jumblatt’s stance on the selection of a new PM
Al-Akhbar quoted sources in Beirut’s southern suburb as saying that during their latest meeting, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah did not ask MP Walid Jumblatt anything in regard to voting alongside the opposition in the premiership consultations.
Sources in Damascus asserted that Assad did not make any such requests to Jumblatt either. Rather, they said Jumblatt stated that he would not support any monochromatic cabinet, i.e. any cabinet headed by former prime minister Hariri that does not include the opposition.