Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Romania strengthens military cooperation with the US

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users celebrate release of French hostages

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Justine Dupont, surfer

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Freed French Hostages: Celebration and speculation on how it all happened

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Todd Shepard, Author of 'The Algerian War and the Remaking of France'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Guillaume Poitrinal, Chief executive of Woodeum

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria

Read more

  • Russia accuses Kiev of 'grossly' violating Geneva deal

    Read more

  • ‘I suffered mock executions,’ says freed French journalist

    Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Boston readies for first marathon since bombings

    Read more

  • France marks 70 years of women’s voting rights

    Read more

  • Abdullah widens lead in Afghan presidential vote

    Read more

  • Leftist Sabahi to challenge Sisi for Egypt presidency

    Read more

  • Syria to hold presidential election on June 3

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

Middle east

Lebanon calm after 2 days of protests over PM appointment

©

Latest update : 2011-01-26

Lebanese security officials say all roads have been opened and barricades removed Wednesday after two days of protests in the country following the appointment of Hezbollah-backed Najib Mikati as prime minister.

AFP - Lebanon's Hezbollah-backed new premier was preparing Wednesday for talks on forming a government in the deeply divided country as calm returned to the streets after protests over his appointment.

Prime minister designate Najib Mikati, a moderate billionaire businessman, was to make protocol visits to five of his predecessors before launching talks on Thursday with parliamentary groups.

Security was tight and several schools remained closed, but traffic returned to normal following a "day of rage" by supporters of outgoing premier Saad Hariri.

Anti-riot troops patrolled the streets of Beirut and the northern port city of Tripoli, a Sunni bastion and Mikati's hometown, where protests the day before had turned violent. There were no casualties.

Banners reading "Mikati, appointed by Khamenei," Iran's supreme leader, remained hoisted in Tripoli as tanks were deployed outside Mikati's home and offices.

Residents of Tripoli said they planned to set up a tent in a city square around noon to protest his appointment.

Under Lebanon's power-sharing system, the premier must be a Sunni Muslim.

Hassan Nasrallah defends Hezbollah against Hariri charges

Mikati is a Sunni, but supporters of Hariri, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States, view his appointment as a bid by the the Shiite militant Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, to gain more political clout.

The 55-year-old tycoon was tasked with forming a new government after Hezbollah and its allies toppled Hariri's cabinet because of a long-running dispute over a UN court probing the 2005 murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, Saad's father.

The Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reportedly readying to indict Hezbollah members in connection with the Hariri murder, a move the militant group has warned against.

Washington on Tuesday accused Hezbollah of wresting government control through intimidation, and vowed that the STL would press on with its work.

In an interview with AFP, Mikati said he planned to address that thorny issue through dialogue.

"Stopping the tribunal today is no longer a Lebanese decision," he said.

He added, however, that Lebanon's cooperation with the tribunal was another question altogether, without elaborating.

Mikati also rejected accusation that he was "Hezbollah's man" saying he was not bound by the party's agenda.

"I say in all honesty that my nomination by Hezbollah does not mean I am bound by any of their political positions, except as concerns the protection of the national resistance," the 55-year-old billionaire businessman told AFP in an interview at his Beirut home after his appointment to form a new government.

He was referring to the Shiite militant party's struggle against neighbouring Israel.

"Don't prejudge me or my behaviour, please, especially the international community," he added.

Lebanese newspapers were divided Wednesday as concerns his appointment, with some mourning a "Hezbollah government" and others hailing it as a welcome change.

"Hezbollah's government set to see the light soon," said the front-page headline in the Arabic language daily Al-Mustaqbal, owned by Hariri.

"Now that the 'day of rage' has ended, it has become clear that all that smoke from the burning tyres could not mask the truth, which is that Lebanon has entered a new political phase," read the editorial in As-Safir, close to Hezbollah.

 

Date created : 2011-01-26

  • LEBANON

    Hezbollah-backed candidate Mikati appointed premier

    Read more

  • LEBANON

    Mikati's nomination sparks ‘day of rage’ against Hezbollah

    Read more

  • LEBANON

    Hariri allies say Hezbollah launched pro-Iran coup, call for protests

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)