'Jumblatt meets Assad, says will nominate Hariri for PM'

Lebanese Druze leader tells Hariri he'll support him as long as he remains committed to Syrian-Saudi deal; Nasrallah set to give speech.

January 16, 2011 09:11
1 minute read.
Syrian President Assad and Druze leader Jumblatt

Assad and Jumblatt 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt met with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday, saying, "My meeting with the Syrian president was excellent," Lebanese paper an-Nahar reported.

Jumblatt announced that he will declare his stance on the Lebanese governmental crisis "at 3:45 p.m. Monday after my meeting with the President [Michel Suleiman], as part of consultations" with his party, according to the report.

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The announcement followed a report from London-based al-Hayat saying that Jumblatt and members of his political bloc would name former prime minister and current Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri as their nominee to head the new government.

The report added that Jumblatt told Hariri Friday he intended to name him as prime minister as long as he remains committed to the Saudi-Syrian agreement for resolving the crisis surrounding the Special Tribunal for Lebanon report, expected to be released within days.

The crisis is the climax of long-simmering tensions over the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal is widely expected to indict members of Hizbullah soon, which many fear could rekindle violence in the tiny nation plagued for decades by war and civil strife. Hizbullah denounces the Netherlands-based tribunal as a conspiracy by the US and Israel and demanded Hariri reject the court's findings even before they come out. But Hariri has refused to break cooperation with the tribunal.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the turmoil in Lebanon

In related news,l Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah was expected to speak publicly Sunday night for the first time since his party's ministers toppled the Lebanese government, Hizbullah's television station Al-Manar reported.

The Shi'ite group's media outlet made a statement Sunday saying: "Nasrallah will make an appearance on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. to comment on the latest developments."

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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