Miqati’s Pledge to Fund STL to Create New Govt. Crisis
Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s recent statements that Lebanon will continue on funding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will likely cause a governmental crisis given that Free Patriotic Movement ministers believe that such a decision cannot be taken by the premier, but by the ministers themselves, the majority of which oppose the tribunal, reported the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Sunday.
Ministerial sources told the daily that Lebanon is obligated to fund 49 percent of the tribunal’s funds according to United Nations Security Council 1757.
This issue is expected to be raised at cabinet in October when the 2012 state budget will be addressed, they continued.
They added that the ministers of the FPM, Hizbullah, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and MP Talal Arslan, who comprise the majority of the cabinet, will oppose funding the STL, while National Struggle Front and Miqati’s ministers will support it.
The expected crisis will therefore force Miqati to break his pledge before the international community to fund the STL, added the sources.
Proposals are being discussed over how to avert the crisis with some sides suggesting that a portion of the state budget funds be set aside for Miqati to spend as he sees fit in his role as prime minister, revealed the sources.
In addition, they pointed out that the premier is committed to the ministerial statement, which did not mention Lebanon’s refusal to fund the STL.
Meanwhile, a prominent March 8 camp official told the daily Ad Diyar in remarks published on Sunday that the tribunal will not be funded “at any cost because it is a weapon being used to destroy the Resistance.”
“How can Miqati announce that Lebanon will continue on funding the tribunal while it is keen on destroying Hizbullah?” asked the March 8 official.
“It is clear that Miqati has international commitments to uphold while he is being cornered on the internal scene,” he noted.
Hizbullah has repeatedly said that it will not cooperate with the STL, deeming it an American-Israeli product.
The tribunal has released arrest warrants against four party suspects accusing them of being involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.