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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Government in Lebanon 'to quit'
Rafik Hariri in parliament
Hariri has served as PM for 10 of the last 12 years
Lebanon's prime minister has hinted his government will resign soon, bringing to a head a political crisis over Syria's influence in Lebanese affairs.

"The last cabinet session will be on the 20th. And after that there will be change," Mr Hariri told reporters.

Four ministers have already resigned in the crisis, triggered by moves to extend the president's term in office.

Parliament passed the amendment, which was supported by Syria, despite strong objections both at home and abroad.

The vote came as the UN Security Council issued a resolution calling for all remaining foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and for Syria to stay out of Lebanon's internal affairs.

It is not clear whether Mr Hariri - a political rival of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud - intends to stay on as prime minister.

He initially objected to the amendment to give Mr Lahoud three more years in office, but voted in favour after Syria's intervention.

He was saying nothing on Thursday, only that it was necessary to await the results of discussions.

Syria is the main power broker in Lebanon, having kept thousands of troops in its smaller neighbour since the long civil war ended there in 1990.

Syria feels squeeze over Lebanon
05 Sep 04  |  Middle East
Lebanon extends president's term
03 Sep 04  |  Middle East
UN backs Lebanon sovereignty call
03 Sep 04  |  Middle East
Hezbollah rejects disarmament call
04 Sep 04  |  Middle East
Country profile: Lebanon
09 Jul 04  |  Country profiles

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