U.S. working behind scenes at tribunal?

March 23, 2011 at 12:20 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 23 (UPI) -- Western diplomats wanted to use a possible indictment against Hezbollah to back the ousted Lebanese prime minister, sources said.

Sources to the Arabic-language as-Safir newspaper in Lebanon claim Washington wanted to use an indictment from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to back Prime Minister Saad Hariri after Hezbollah toppled the government in January.

Hezbollah led opposition leaders in mass resignations while Hariri was in the United States meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. Hezbollah is expected to be named by the tribunal for its alleged role in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Saad Hariri's father.

Sources said Washington officials contacted the tribunal after the Hezbollah move in an effort to use an indictment to return Hariri to power. Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati hasn't been able to form a unity government since January.

Western diplomats told Hariri's March 14 movement that political developments in the Arab world meant the tribunal's work wasn't a top diplomatic priority for Washington, Lebanese news outlet Naharnet adds.

March 14 officials said they believed an indictment could surface in June. A sealed indictment was handed to tribunal judges in January.

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