Assad intervened personally to ensure STL funding


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad personally “intervened ” to ensure that Lebanon will finance the UN court probing former PM Rafik Hariri’s murder, Kuwaiti newspaper As-Seyassah reported on Saturday.

Assad “personally intervened to ensure the funding in order to prevent the collapse] of the Lebanese government,” after Prime Minister Najib Mikati threatened to resign if the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was not financed.

According to the daily , Syrian president met with envoys from Hezbollah and the Shiite Amal Movement to discuss the STL before Mikati announced on Wednesday that Lebanon has financed the UN-backed court.

The daily also reported that Assad recently held talks with Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil in a meeting that lasted three hours and the talks were preceded by high-ranking Iranian contacts.

Assad considers Mikati’s government “vital for Syria,” as Damascus faces international pressure over its violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests, the paper said.

Mikati announced on Wednesday that he transferred Lebanon’s share of the funding of the tribunal to the court, while Nasrallah on Thursday rejected the funding, reiterating Hezbollah’s rejection of the tribunal.