Efforts continue to avert collapse of Mikati’s cabinet


The big question in Lebanon continues to be : “Will the prime minister resign following the cabinet session on November 30 if he fails to secure the needed funding for the UN backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon?”

Efforts for finding a solution to funding STL continue in order to avert the collapse of Mikati’s government .

“There is progress towards a win-win solution after Speaker Nabih Berri’s contacts with various sides,” a senior source with March 8 coalition said on Tuesday.

“I believe there is a way that secures funding for STL will keep the government intact,” the source added.

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, who had voiced his support for the funding, met with Berri Tuesday night.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, who met Mikati earlier Tuesday over lunch is reportedly trying to mediate between Free patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Mikati.

Energy Minister Jibran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law reportedly met with President Michel Suleiman Tuesday afternoon in a bid to postpone Wednesday’s session to allow more time for consultations to resolve the issue.

Berri met with Mikati Tuesday morning in an attempt to resolve the funding issue.

Jumblatt visited Ain al Tinah and met again with Berri Tuesday afternoonto try and resolve the funding issue

Jumblatt said during an interview with Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV on Tuesday afternoon following his meeting with Berri :” Preserving the cabinet is in everyone’s interest and no one wants to see vacuum”.

Mikati said on Tuesday following his meeting with Patriarch Rai that his position regarding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is “clear,” and voiced the importance of paying Lebanon’s share of funding to the international court probing the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri.

“Hezbollah confirms that it [does not want] the cabinet to [collapse], but it has not announced its support for [STL] funding,” the PM said.

He also said that the cabinet is still scheduled to convene on Wednesday at the Baabda Presidential Palace, adding that he will call for another session if tomorrow’s session is not held.

The current Lebanese government is dominated by the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, who are insisting that the country cease all cooperation with STL.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was created by the United Nations Security Council in 2007 , at the request of the Government of Lebanon to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

On January 12, 2011 Hezbollah and allies with the help of the Shiite minister in the cabinet that represented president Michel Suleiman overthrew the government of former PM Saad Hariri over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s imminent indictment.

STL issued the indictments and arrest warrants on June 30. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of Hezbollah and played leading roles in the assassination while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.

“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.” Nasrallah said following the announcement of the indictments.

It appears now that STL could also result in the fall of the current government

Lebanon should contribute 49 percent of the STL’s annual funding but so far has not contributed anything in 2011 fiscal year