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Lebanese Cabinet Backs International Court Into Hariri Murder


Lebanon's Cabinet has approved creation of an international court to try suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The United Nations-backed plan now will be sent for approval from Lebanese lawmakers and the president.

Cabinet ministers met Saturday despite the objections of their pro-Syrian opponents.

President Emile Lahoud called on the Cabinet to avoid meeting, after ministers from the Hezbollah and Amal groups resigned. Ministers from the pro-Syrian Shi'ite groups quit this month to press for greater representation in Lebanon's government.

Political tensions have been high since Tuesday's killing of Christian politician Pierre Gemayel, a staunch opponent of Syrian influence in Lebanon.

The U.N. Security Council has said the proposed court into Hariri's murder could help investigate the Gemayel killing.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says Gemayel's death may be part of a coup plot against the Lebanese government.

Bolton says the White House recently warned that Syria and Iran - acting through Hezbollah - are on the verge of staging a coup.

Anti-Syrian leaders in Lebanon have blamed Damascus for Gemayel's assassination. Syria has denied involvement in the killing. Damascus also denies any role in last year's assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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