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The Lebanese cabinet will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the report of Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar on the issue of the false witnesses amidst concerns and fears that a vote could spark a fresh political crisis.

MP Walid Jumblatt on Monday shuttled between President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to ensure there would be no vote in Cabinet and to spare the country another crises

The report has already stirred up controversy over a clause which gives the Lebanese judiciary, and not the Justice Council, power over the false witnesses.

The Opposition insists that the Justice Council handles false witnesses.

Lebanese Forces deputy leader George Adwan believed that the Opposition is linking the issue of false witnesses to the Justice Council to get rid of Military Prosecutor Saqr Saqr, State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza, Police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi and head of the police intelligence bureau Col. Wissam Hasan.

Local media on Tuesday said Jumblatt’s shuttle was also aimed at “spreading a clam, rational atmosphere.”

Jumblatt, too, urged dialogue and consensus on the false witnesses.

An-Nahar newspaper quoted well-informed circles as saying that Jumblatt took on the role of a “centrist firefighter” after a sharp split emerged in Lebanon between the majority March 14 coalition and the Opposition March 8 forces.

They said Jumblatt’s meetings with Lebanon’s top three leaders focused on three political issues: to ensure no vote for Tribunal funding in the event the issue was raised; adopt a pacific debate on Najjar’s report and ensure no vote, too; and consider the possibility of coming out with a compromise or an appropriate exit to the report.

Meanwhile, President Michel Suleiman has reportedly launched a series of internal consultations in order to bridge the gap of as much as possible because of the emerging “Report of the carpenter

As-Safir newspaper said Suleiman sought a calm atmosphere in an effort to get away with a vote.

It said that while Jumblatt’s Cabinet ministers apparently tend toward siding up with the majority ministers in voting against referral of the false witnesses issue to the Justice Council, Jumblatt insisted he supports “consensus.”

“The most important thing is to reach no vote and calm,” Jumblatt told As-Safir in remarks published Tuesday.

“The most important thing is to reach no vote and calm,” Jumblatt told As-Safir in remarks published Tuesday.

Future News, meanwhile, quoted head of the Higher Judicial Council Judge Ghaleb Ghanem as saying that the false witnesses issue does not fall under the Justice Council jurisdiction.

No justification

Minister of State Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein told Voice of Lebanon (VOL) on Tuesday that the current dispute between Lebanese parties over the issue of false witnesses cannot be justified.

He voiced hope that all parties would reach consensus soon, adding that Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar’s report on the issue can help the cabinet decide which judicial authority will deal with the matter.

Hussein is one of the ministers allocated to President Suleiman

Opposition

The cabinet ministers of the opposition met overnight at Speaker Nabih Berri’s mansion in Ain el-Tineh to discuss the issue of false witnesses.

An-Nahar newspaper quoted sources who attended the meeting as saying that the Opposition insists that the Justice Council, handles the false witnesses’ case, in contrary to what is stated in the report of the Justice Minister

The Opposition is reportedly keen not to cause a split in Cabinet and to seek consensus on this matter, the sources added.

They said Berri told the Opposition that he is seeking consensus in Cabinet on the false witnesses’ issue “away from the climate of divisions and disputes inside the Government.”

Saqr

Lebanon First MP Oqab Saqr on Monday accused the Opposition of fabricating false witnesses to “destroy us.” Saqr warned he has “more files that condemn others but we won’t disclose them now.”

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