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Lebanese president calls on Hariri to lead caretaker government

Arab World Materials 13 January 2011 14:56
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called Thursday on Prime Minister Saad Hariri to stay on as head of a caretaker cabinet, following the collapse of the government a day earlier, the Lebanese national news agency said.
Lebanese president calls on Hariri to lead caretaker government

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called Thursday on Prime Minister Saad Hariri to stay on as head of a caretaker cabinet, following the collapse of the government a day earlier, the Lebanese national news agency said, DPA reported.

The call came less than 24 hours after Hezbollah ministers and their allies in the national unity government resigned over disagreements regarding the United Nations tribunal which is probing the 2005 killing of Hariri's father, Rafik.

According to a source close to Suleiman, the president is expected to hold meetings with top officials on Thursday to assess the political situation.

The government collapsed after the Shiite militant group and its allies walked out of the cabinet because the UN probe is expected to charge senior Hezbollah members.

Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the 2005 assassination and has urged Hariri to ignore the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Hariri has refused to bend to their conditions.

The source added that the president is waiting for Hariri's return to Beirut from a visit to the United States to issue the decree accepting the ministers' resignation.

According to a government source Suleiman will have a hard task to name a new premier tasked with forming a new government.

"We are not very optimistic about Suleiman's ability to form a new government quickly," said the source, who stressed that the reasons that led to the collapse of the government will hinder the process of cabinet formation if a political understanding is not reached on how to deal with the indictment expected to be issued by the tribunal.

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