During his speech before the UN Security Council on Tuesday Prime Minister Najib Mikati reiterated on Lebanon’s commitment to international resolutions including the resolution pertaining to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)
“Lebanon, a founding member of the United Nations, is always committed to [international] resolutions… including the resolution pertaining to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ” Mikati said
Mikati heads a government that is heavily influenced by the Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah which opposes the STL funding .
The tribunal was created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution, at Lebanon’s request, to try those responsible for former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination. He was killed in a suicide car bombing on February 14, 2005.
Lebanon is required to contribute 49 % STL’s annual budget
Four Hezbollah members have been indicted by the UN-backed STL, however, the Shiite group denied the charges and refused to cooperate with the court
Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon
Mikati in his speech also demanded the full Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territories and demanded the international community to hold Israel accountable for fulfilling its duties as specified in UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
“Lebanon demands full Israeli withdrawal from the Lebanese territories that are still occupied, including the Shebaa Farms, Kfar Shouba Hills and the northern part of Al-Ghajar,” Mikati said.
Mikati also told the UN Security Council that “Lebanon is demarcating its maritime borders and exploiting its natural resources in its regional waters.”
The PM praised “the role UNIFIL is playing in the South of Lebanon” and condemned the attacks that targeted it.
Three French UNIFIL soldiers were wounded in a roadside bombing in the southern city of Saida in July, and six Italian UNIFIL soldiers were wounded in an explosion targeting their convoy in Saida in May.
Mikati also expressed support for Palestinian bid to join the UN as a full member
“Palestine is an occupied country, and we must strive to establish a Palestinian state and help the Palestinian people to stop the occupation and return to their homeland,” he said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations on Friday to admit Palestine as a full member state.
skepticism over Mikati’s commitments
Mikati’s pledge to fund fund g of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was met with skepticism at home, as politicians voiced doubt about his ability to secure support from the rest of the Cabinet.
“Mikati speaks for himself and not for the government,”March 14 MP Ahmad Fatfat said Tuesday.
Another March 14 MP voiced similar skepticism about Mikati’s authority
MP Assem Araji, said :
“We are waiting to see whether his words are going to be translated into action,”
“Can the prime minister and the president pass the funding bill in Cabinet?” asked Araji.
MP Michel Aoun who is closely allied with Hezbollah renewed on Tuesday his opposition to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, rejecting all attempts to fund it.
Following the Change and Reform bloc’s weekly meeting he told reporters in response to Mikati’s pledges at the UN Security council :
Mikatis’ wealth is estimated at $5 billion, so why doesn’t he and his brother provide the $35 million Lebanon is obligated to pay to fund the tribunal.” llars, then he can provide the $35 million Lebanon is obligated to pay to fund the tribunal.”