Naharnet

Hariri Threatens to Name Govt. 'Obstructors', Says STL to Fulfill Justice

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri warned Tuesday that he could soon name those who are “obstructing” the formation of the new government, as he stressed that the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon will fulfill justice in the case of the assassination of his father, ex-PM Rafik Hariri.

“If the government is not formed soon, I will name those who are obstructing its formation,” Hariri told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting for the al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc.

“The issue of the government's formation is everyone's responsibility and it is only related to shares and political parties that are demanding additional portfolios,” Hariri added.

He underlined: “I am the PM-designate and I will remain so and I will form a government together with the president. Period.”

President Michel Aoun had on Monday urged Hariri to “take the initiative” and form a government as soon as possible.

As for the renewed controversy over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Hariri said: “Hizbullah's stance on the tribunal is clear, will not change and is not new. My stance on the court is well-known and I'm keen on the country's security and stability but justice will be fulfilled.”

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had on Sunday warned parties allegedly “betting on the STL” against what he called “playing with fire.”

“Some March 14 circles are saying that the main reason behind delaying the formation of the government is that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will issue its ruling in September and that there will be a new situation in the country to capitalize on,” Nasrallah said.

“The STL does not mean anything to us at all and its rulings are of no value regardless whether they are condemnation or acquittal rulings,” he added.

The STL Trial Chamber has scheduled oral closing arguments in the Rafik Hariri assassination case for the period between Sep. 11 and Sep. 21. Four Hizbullah operatives are being tried in absentia over their alleged role in the killing.

The STL Prosecution has recently submitted a “Final Trial Brief” that explains the links between Hizbullah and the supposed assassination squads and draws attention to meetings and phone calls between senior Hizbullah and Syrian officials prior to the February 2005 attack.

Nasrallah has dismissed the court as a U.S.-Israeli scheme and vowed that the accused will never be arrested.


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