US criticizes Hezbollah resignations


US President Barack Obama has strongly criticized Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah over the collapse of the country’s unity government.

Lebanon’s unity government collapsed on Wednesday after 11 ministers resigned over tensions caused by a US-backed tribunal charged with investigating the assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri in February 2005.

Among the ministers were 10 from Hezbollah’s March 8 Alliance and the 11th was State Minister Adnan Sayyed Hussein, who is close to President Michel Sleiman.
Throwing its full support behind Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the White House issued a statement later in the day, saying the actions by Hezbollah demonstrated its “fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people,” AFP reported.

Hezbollah resorted to mass resignation after its demands on Tuesday for an urgent cabinet session over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) crisis were rejected.

The move came at a time when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is visiting Washington to meet President Barack Obama to discuss the STL and issues relevant to Lebanon’s stability.

Obama and Hariri in their meeting expressed their determination to achieve “both stability and justice” in Lebanon.

“During their meeting, the president stressed the importance of the work of the STL as a means to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity in Lebanon,” the statement said.

Lebanon has been the scene of bickering among pro-Western and pro-opposition factions over reports indicating STL’s intention to indict Hezbollah over alleged involvement in Rafiq Hariri’s murder, allegations the resistance movement has vehemently rejected.

Rafiq Hariri and 22 other people were killed on February 14, 2005, when his vehicle was targeted by explosives equal to around 1,000 kilogram of TNT in downtown Beirut.

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