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January 20, 11

NEWS / UN envoy and Lebanese Prime Minister discuss prospects for new government

20 January 2011 – Restoring political stability and achieving a new Lebanese government is possible if all parties are willing to cooperate towards that end, a top United Nations envoy said today following a meeting with the caretaker Prime Minister, Saad Hariri.

The meeting between Michael Williams and Mr. Hariri comes just over a week after the collapse of the government of national unity, resulting from the resignation of 11 cabinet ministers from Hizbollah and allied groups due to differences over the UN-backed tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Mr. Hariri’s father and former prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

Mr. Williams and the Prime Minister discussed the various international initiatives, most recently by Turkey and Qatar, and the prospect for achieving a new government and political stability in Lebanon.

“I believe that that is possible, provided that there is goodwill and cooperation of all political parties in working for justice as well as stability,” said Mr. Williams, who serves as the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

He also underlined the need for calm and order during the current period despite the political divisions in the country.

On Monday, the Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, submitted the first indictment and supporting materials to the court, which is based in the Netherlands. The contents of the indictment remain confidential at this stage and need to be reviewed by the Pre-Trial Judge.

The Tribunal was set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others was seriously flawed, and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack.

UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly stressed that the Tribunal is an independent body whose work should not be linked with any political debate.




AnnaMaria Realbuto
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