Lebanese Government Collapse as Hezbollah & Allies Resign
Lebanon Government Collapses as Hezbollah Tribunal Looms
The Lebanese government has collapsed following the resignation of Hezbollah cabinet ministers. The Hezbollah ministrs are facing a UN-backed tribunal over the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minster Rafiq al-Hariri.
Hezbollah ministers called a cabinet meeting to discuss the STL (Special Tribunal for Lebanon) investigations, but the call was refused by Saad al-Hariri, Prime Minister and Rafiq al-Hariri's son. In response, 11 ministers from Hezbollah and its allies resigned, which automatically dissolved the Saad al-Hariri government.
Now Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will form a new government.
The move took place as the Lebanese Prime Minister was visiting US President Barack Obama. Saad al-Hariri returned to Lebanon.
The request to convene the cabinet meeting came on Tuesday after Syria and Saudi Arabia, who have for months been attempting to act as mediators in Lebanon's political crisis, announced their efforts had failed.
Hezbollah denied any involvement in the Rafiq al-Hariri assassination, blaming the US and Israel. Hezbollah wanted Saad al-Hariri to cease cooperation with the UN-backed STL tribunal, but al-Hariri refused.
"Hezbollah are saying that this tribunal has been politicised and used by the US and Isreal to descredit Hezbollah, that they have nothing to do with the death of Rafiq Hariri and they want Saad Hariri to come out and delegitimise its findings and end Lebanon's co-operation with the tribunal."
Saad Hariri's associates have said that he would not succumb to pressure and will call for a cabinet meeting when he finds it appropriate.