Crisis Worsens over False Witnesses: Cabinet, Dialogue Not Likely to Convene Due to Ongoing Dispute


Difficulties facing efforts to hold a Cabinet meeting without a Government split reflected the real problem the national unity government was facing.

A source from President Michel Suleiman's ministerial bloc told An-Nahar newspaper in remarks published Monday there were no new developments regarding the false witnesses' issue.

"Everyone is still waiting for the outcome of consultations and contacts between the concerned sides," the source said.

Well-informed political sources had said that both Damascus and Riyadh have intensified consultations last week in a bid to reach an understanding on the possible exists to the crisis.

They pointed to the recent visit by the adviser to the Saudi King, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, to Damascus during which he discussed "written ideas for an exit."

The ministerial source stressed that holding a Cabinet meeting for vote on the false witnesses is "out of the question because that would paralyze the Government."

An-Nahar said a vote could lead to a Government split.

For this reason, it said, distribution of the agenda was apparently postponed, noting that the 48-hour deadline for the distribution ends at 5:00 pm Monday.

A ministerial source in Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's bloc, for his part, said failure to distribute Cabinet agenda will cause additional complications.

He said failure to hold a Cabinet meeting this week could mean a Cabinet session is also unlikely to convene next week due to Eid al-Adha holiday.

Moreover, the source cautioned that unless Cabinet meets, national dialogue, which was scheduled to convene before Nov. 22, is threatened to collapse, increasing political unrest and tension.

He said Saudi-Syrian efforts have not yet produced a solution to the Lebanon crisis