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International fear from STL termination over March 8 resignations
 
 
 
 
 
 
13-01-2011
 
March 8 ministers announced Wednesday their resignation from the national unity government after bidding Saudi and Syrian efforts to resolve the political impasse adieu, with one target in mind, terminating the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

March 8 crowned a long track of obstruction beginning right after parliamentary elections and concluded it with the announcement while President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri expressed willingness for dialogue and cooperation. Doors to nowhere have opened since 10 ministers from Hizbullah and allies resigned along with the party's 'deposit” State Minister Adnan Sayyed Hussein.

March 8 not only toppled the Saudi-Syrian initiative but also breached the Doha Accord which prohibits resignation or obstruction of governmental work which would cause repercussions in the entire region.

To begin with, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon threw his "full support" behind the international tribunal investigating the assassination of Martyr Premier Rafik Hariri.

"The secretary general is closely monitoring developments in Lebanon, where the situation is fast evolving," said spokesman Martin Nesirky in a statement.

"He emphasizes the importance that calm be preserved. The secretary general further calls for continuing dialogue among all parties and respect for the constitution and the laws of Lebanon," Nesirky added.

Also, U.S. President Barack Obama after meeting with Prime Minister Hariri expressed complete solidarity as the White House statement charged that Hizbullah's withdrawal from Lebanon's government showed its "own fear."

In addition, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Hizbullah's move to topple Lebanon's government and undermine the UN-backed tribunal "will not work."

"We view what happened today as a transparent effort by those forces inside Lebanon, as well as interests outside Lebanon, to subvert justice and undermine Lebanon's stability and progress," Clinton told a news conference.

"Trying to bring the government down as a way to undermine the special tribunal is an abdication of responsibility, but it also will not work," she said after talks in Qatar.

"The work of the special tribunal must go forward so justice can be served and impunity ended," Clinton said.

The special tribunal is expected to indict members of Hizbullah over the 2005 killing, in which it denies any role. "This is a matter that should be allowed to proceed as previously agreed to. This is not only about the tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri, but many other people died and were injured as well," Clinton said.

"Lebanon needs now to rally behind its own interests. The Lebanese people need to get beyond political party. It's not political parties that would be put on trial, it's individuals," she said.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said Qatar had no plans to mediate as it has in previous Lebanese political crises, but added that the Gulf region hoped the Saudi initiative to find a solution could still move forward.

"We still hope that there will be a solution which will avoid Lebanon slipping into conflicts of any sort," he said at a joint appearance with Clinton.

Britain said Hizbullah's withdrawal from the Lebanese government was "extremely serious" and could have "grave implications" for stability across the Middle East.

Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned any attempt to undermine the STL, stressing that 'this is an extremely serious development which could have grave implications for Lebanon and for regional stability.

"I call on all parties to work together for a peaceful resolution of the crisis caused by Hezbollah's decision to withdraw from government,” Hague said in a statement.

He added: "I condemn the continuing attempts to undermine the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which must be allowed to carry out its work without hindrance or impediment. Justice needs to be done and there must be an end to impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon."

Turkey and Saudi Arabia through their foreign ministers urged Lebanon to keep its unity government intact.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal warned that the prospect of political instability posed "a great danger" for Lebanon and the region.

"If the resignations materialize, if there is a split... this may lead to a conflict... And this poses a great danger... Lebanon may face the problems it faced before and this will affect the countries in the region," he said through an interpreter.

"We wish that those resignations do not happen," he said, speaking at a joint news conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

Davutoglu backed a Saudi-Syrian initiative to prevent a crisis and said Turkey was ready to help the hard-won unity government in Beirut to survive.

"The essential effort at the moment is aimed at preventing the escalation of tensions and ensuring that the initiative of Saudi Arabia and Syria succeeds," he said.

Davutoglu said Ankara had been in touch with Hariri and Syrian leaders to discuss the situation.
 
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