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BEIRUT, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - Lebanese President Michel Aoun had talks with Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi at the Baabda Palace on promoting bilateral relations in all fields, the national news agency reported.

The two sides also discussed the recent regional developments.

In the same context, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri probed with Allawi the latest developments in the Middle East region.





The Hague, September 9, 2018 (News Wires) - The Hizbollah defendants are still on the run and have never even spoken to their lawyers, but the special UN tribunal into the 2005 assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri starts its final phase this week.

Thirteen years after billionaire Hariri was killed by a huge suicide bomb in Beirut, the court in a suburb of The Hague will hear closing prosecution and defence arguments in the long-running case.

Four suspected members of the Shi'ite militant group Hizbollah are on trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) over the shock attack, which also killed 21 other people and injured 226.

Hizbollah has refused to turn over the four indicted men -- Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi, Assad Sabra and Hassan Habib Merhi -- for the trial which began in January 2014.

But the tribunal is unique in international justice as it can try suspects in absentia, as well as for its ability to try accused perpetrators of an individual terrorist attack.

It is the first time a trial has happened without the suspects in the dock since 1945, when an international criminal jurisdiction was created for the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Closing arguments are due to run from Tuesday until September 21.

BEIRUT, Sept 7, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Ambassador to Lebanon Nazeh el Naggary on Friday expressed hope that the great efforts that are being exerted by Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to form his government would be rendered successful.

Naggary said that these efforts are meant to serve the interest of Lebanon as well as its political and economic stability.

In press statements following his meeting with Hariri at his Beit Al Wasat residence here, Naggary said that the meeting touched on a number of trade and investment issues along with bilateral files of interest, which require regular follow-up with the Lebanese side.

BEIRUT, September 5, 2018 (News Wires) - Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker said on Wednesday the country was in “intensive care” and the economic situation was “very dangerous”, according to a lawmaker who regularly speaks for Nabih Berri.

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri has not yet managed to form a national unity government four months since the country held parliamentary elections, a delay which has raised fears for Lebanon’s highly-indebted economy.

By the Gazette Editorial Board

Anti-Hezbollah forces are allegedly manoeuvring to delay the formation of the government until an international Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) issues its conclusion in September on the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri (father of appointed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri). 

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned his adversaries that they would be ‘playing with fire’ if they associated the formation of the government with the STL’s decision in September. The Lebanese authorities have cooperated with the tribunal since it was established by the UN’s Security Council in March 2009. Nasrallah maintains that the investigation is a tool of Israel and the United States.

The September verdict will definitely create a new situation in the political life of Lebanon, undermining Hezbollah’s credibility. The STL’s decision this month will give appointed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri the opportunity to safely and legitimately get rid of Hezbollah ministers—the alleged assassins of his father—in his new government.  Hezbollah, already categorised as a terrorist organisation by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, won the majority of votes in the recent Lebanese general elections.

Nasrallah said in a televised speech earlier this week: “The STL does not mean anything to us at all and its rulings are of no value, regardless of whether they condemn or acquit.” He sternly warned ‘those betting on the tribunal: do not play with fire’. Hezbollah’s political opponents reacted immediately, calling the speech a threat to the state.

Appreciating the sensitivity of the situation, pro-Hezbollah President Michel Aoun notified the appointed Prime Minister that time was running out and efforts to form a new government should be speeded up. Aoun is allegedly considering suggestions that the appointed Prime Minister, Saad al-Hariri, should be replaced by someone, who is capable of forming the government. If the President adopted this alternative, however, the situation in Lebanon would explode.

El-Hariri was assigned to form a new government three months ago. Since then, he has been weighing carefully whether his new government should include ministers belonging to Hezbollah. El-Hariri is also unwilling to normalise his country’s relations with Syria. Both Aoun and Hezbollah reject al-Hariri’s anti-Syria attitude.

The STL Trial Chamber has scheduled oral closing arguments in the assassination case of the ex-Prime Minister for the period between Sep. 11 and Sep. 21. Four Hezbollah 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 Hezbollah and the supposed assassination squads, and draws attention to meetings and phone calls between senior Hezbollah and Syrian officials prior to the February 2005 attack.  It remains uncertain, which of the sparring factions will have to throw in the towel.


BEIRUT, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - Lebanese Minister of Interior Nuhad Mashnouk discussed with visiting Adviser to the Brazilian President for Strategic and International Affairs Hussein Kalout bilateral relations and preparations for Brazilian President Michel Tamer's visit to Lebanon, slated for November.

The two sides also discussed the inking of a joint defense and security agreement between Beirut and Brasilia, Lebanon's National News Agency reported on Friday.

In a statement, Kalout hailed as "successful" the meetings he held with President Michel Aoun, House Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad al Hariri and Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnouk.


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