Report: U.S. Delayed Release of Indictment to Guarantee Success of Objective

The United States sought to use the indictment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to back Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri after his government was toppled by the Hizbullah-led alliance, As Safir daily reported Wednesday.

The newspaper said that the U.S. administration contacted tribunal officials immediately after the toppling of the cabinet to use the indictment as a political pressure aimed at bringing back Hariri to power and sidelining Hizbullah.

As Safir said that the indictment would have been issued under U.S. pressure after STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare filed an amended indictment earlier in the month for confirmation by the pre-trial judge.

But developments in the Arab world, including the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime thwarted what the daily said was a U.S. “plan to issue the indictment as a prelude to a change in the political balance of power in Lebanon.”

U.S. priorities in the region changed after the tumult in Arab countries, As Safir reported, saying that the release of the indictment at this stage would have made it ineffective amid the ongoing turmoil.

Western diplomats informed March 14 officials that the indictment and Lebanon are currently at the bottom of their priority list, hinting that the release of the charges could be delayed for a few months, the daily said.

It quoted March 14 officials as saying that the indictment could be issued in June.

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