Lebanon postpones discussions on naming of new premier
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Monday postponed parliamentary negotiations on the naming of a new premier to allow time for Arab efforts to solve the political turmoil in the country, DPA reported.
"The consultations were postponed until January 24 and 25 after all factions agreed on it," a statement from the presidential palace said.
The militant Shiite movement Hezbollah withdrew from the unity government on Wednesday amid tensions over an international investigation into the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.
Reports have suggested that the United Nations-backed tribunal plans to indict members of Hezbollah in connection with the murder.
Suleiman had been scheduled to begin discussions with the various parliamentary blocs on Monday with the aim of naming a new premier, who will be tasked with forming a government.
Monday's postponement was to allow time for negotiations in Syria between Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al- Thani, a government source said.
They hope to find a way of bringing rival Lebanese rival factions to agree on a solution that will end the political impasse and spare Lebanon from street violence similar to that which occurred in 2008.
In May 2008, Hezbollah and their allies clashed with followers of then premier Saad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, over a government decision to dismantle Hezbollah's private telecommunications network. More than 80 people were killed in the violence.
A deal brokered in Qatar was reached eight days later, ending the bloody clashes.
Lebanese Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar on Monday announced that a draft indictment from the tribunal investigating Rafik Hariri's murder was due in the coming hours.
"There is no exact time, but they will be handed to the tribunal's pre-trial judge (Daniel) Fransen on Monday," Najjar said.