Lebanon's government approved a UN plan for an international tribunal for the suspected killers of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri - despite the objections of the president and the resignation of six ministers.
The draft document now returns to the Security Council for endorsement, but its final approval by the weakened Lebanese government is far from certain owing to the resignations and threats from Hizbullah to call mass protests unless it and its Shiite Muslim allies gain effective veto power in the Cabinet.
Monday's vote in the Cabinet was a small victory for Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who is facing both the Hizbullah challenge and the objections of President Emile Lahoud. All 18 ministers remaining in the Cabinet voted for the UN plan, which begins the process of prosecuting Hariri's alleged killers in a court with international legitimacy.
"We tell the criminals that we will not give up our right, no matter what the difficulties and obstacles are," Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told reporters after the three-hour Cabinet meeting. "Our aim is to achieve justice and only justice."
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