Report: Suleiman Proposes STL Funding to be Approved in Absence of Hizbullah Ministersإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
President Michel Suleiman proposed that Hizbullah not attend Wednesday’s scheduled session so that the cabinet approves the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, al-Liwaa newspaper reported.
The daily said on Monday that Suleiman is exerting efforts to resolve the crisis that is threatening to collapse the cabinet.
Prime Minister Najib Miqati had warned to resign if the funding of the STL wasn’t approved by the cabinet; however, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has openly opposed Lebanon paying its annual share.
Sources told the newspaper that the President held a meeting behind closed doors with Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, who is Speaker Nabih Berri's top aide.
Suleiman discussed with Khalil the possibility of holding Wednesday’s cabinet session without the attendance of Hizbullah ministers, where the funding of the STL would be approved without causing embarrassment to any party.
Lebanon is responsible for meeting 49 percent of the costs of the STL, which has charged four Hizbullah members in the February 14, 2005 assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others.
Suleiman suggests that this solution will safeguard Lebanon, as it confirms Lebanon’s commitment to the international resolutions, according to al-Liwaa.
However, Hizbullah refused the president’s proposal, stressing that its ministers will attend all the cabinet’s sessions.
The cabinet is expected to witness a heated debate on Wednesday as the funding of the STL has deepened the rift between the cabinet members.
Hizbullah and its allies in the cabinet, the Free Patriotic Movement and AMAL, refuse to fund the STL, while Miqati and his allies stress on the importance of committing to paying Lebanon’s dues.