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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 16:31 GMT
Lebanese leader blocks UN court
Emile Lahoud
Mr Lahoud has accused Israel of killing Mr Hariri
Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud has formally rejected a cabinet proposal to create a tribunal to try suspects in the killing of former PM Rafik Hariri.

The pro-Syrian leader said the cabinet had already lost its legitimacy when it passed the decree calling for the UN-backed tribunal last month.

Mr Lahoud has regarded the cabinet as unconstitutional since Shia ministers and their allies resigned last month.

A UN inquiry has implicated Syria in Mr Hariri's assassination last year.

Syria has denied the allegation.

Mr Lahoud had said he would reject the decree to form a tribunal the day after the cabinet passed it.

A statement issued by the president's office on Saturday said he had returned the draft to cabinet "for reviewing as soon as a constitutional and legitimate cabinet is formed".

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's cabinet is expected to seek parliament's approval for the plan, even though it does not have the president's signature.

Protests

Lebanon's cabinet last month approved the plan for an international tribunal to try suspects in Mr Hariri's murder.

The emergency cabinet session was held without six pro-Syrian ministers, including some from the Hezbollah movement, after talks to bring them back to the cabinet failed.

Mr Siniora, had offered to postpone the meeting if the ministers would return.

Tensions between the cabinet and Hezbollah escalated last month with the killing of industry minister Pierre Gemayel.

Thousands of Hezbollah followers have been protesting in central Beirut for over week, calling on the government to resign.




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