News / Middle East

Lebanon to Start Talks on New Government Monday

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, 12 Jan 2011
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, 12 Jan 2011

Lebanese leaders say talks on forming a new government are expected to begin Monday after opposition Hezbollah ministers and their allies forced the collapse of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's unity government, plunging the country back into crisis.

President Michel Suleiman Thursday called on Mr. Hariri to remain in a caretaker role until a new Cabinet is formed.

On Wednesday, 11 opposition members of the 30-member Cabinet resigned over Mr. Hariri's refusal to denounce a United Nations-backed investigation into the 2005 assassination his father, the country's former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri.

Media reports say the U.N. indictments will likely target Hezbollah members.  Hezbollah denies involvement in the killing.

Members of the Shi'ite militia said Thursday the candidacy of Mr. Hariri - Lebanon's Sunni leader - to head a new government is "unacceptable." By Lebanese law, the prime minister must be appointed from the Sunni Muslim sect, the president is a Christian and the speaker of the house a Shi'ite.

Mr. Hariri is set to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday in Ankara after meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy late Thursday in Paris.

Also Thursday, two grenades were thrown at the headquarters of Lebanese Christian leader Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, a Hezbollah ally.

U.S. officials say they are monitoring the situation closely.

Wednesday's resignations took place as Mr. Hariri was meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, who expressed his support for the prime minister.

A White House statement said Mr. Obama commended Mr. Hariri for his "steadfast leadership and efforts to reach peace, stability and consensus in Lebanon under difficult circumstances."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Hezbollah's actions are a "transparent effort" to "subvert justice and undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and independence."

Meanwhile, Lebanese media reports say Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will address developments in a speech "soon."

Observers say the immediate trigger for Hezbollah's withdrawal was the failure of talks between Syria, which backs the Shi'ite militant group, and Saudi Arabia, a Hariri ally, to try to find a compromise over the U.N. tribunal.

 

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

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs