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U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly said after meeting Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea that the U.S. will need to look at the new government’s composition, policy statement, and behavior before making any decision regarding the bilateral relationship.

Following he her meetings yesterday with key March 14 leaders Minister Boutros Harb and former president Amin Gemayel she stressed the view of the United States that the formation of the government is an exclusively Lebanese process that should remain free from coercion, intimidation and threats of violence from both inside and outside Lebanon.

Connelly called on the international community to continue to support Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability, and independence as the constitutional process of forming a new government unfolds.

Connelly added: “The international community has made clear its expectation that the next government of Lebanon should live up to its international obligations, including the full implementation of all Lebanon-related Security Council resolutions, and uphold Lebanon’s commitment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The work of the Tribunal is of vital importance to the stability and security of Lebanon, and its work must continue. Any government that claims to be truly representative of all of Lebanon would find it impossible to abandon the Tribunal’s efforts to end the era of impunity for assassinations in the country.”

The Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s ( STL) indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 .

Nagib Mikati, who was backed by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies including MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi, was appointed by president Michel Suleiman as PM-designate to form and head the next cabinet , giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country and provoking widespread protests.

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