Wednesday,April 04,2007

In the SpotlightThe parliamentary majority has handed a petition to the United Nations requesting that the world body establish an international tribunal on the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri.

Legislature Saad Hariri on Tuesday delivered the petition which was signed by 70 lawmakers to the U.N. special coordinator in Lebanon, Geir Pederson.

Addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it requested that "all alternative measures" be taken by the Security Council to establish the tribunal.

Hariri wants the U.N. to by-pass the political paralysis in Lebanon over establishing the tribunal which would investigate the 2005 murder of his father, five-time prime minister.

The Hizbullah-led opposition objects to the way the government has handled plans to create the court under U.N. auspices and has so far managed to block all moves to set up the court.

The United Nations has signed a deal with Prime Minister Fouad Saniora’s government to set up the tribunal, but it must be ratified by the country’s divided parliament.

House Speaker Nabih Berri has refused to allow the government to submit a bill to be ratified in parliament, effectively blocking the tribunal’s creation.

The move by the majority MPs came shortly after pro- and anti-government lawmakers rallied in parliament over the international tribunal.

The parliamentary majority pleaded with Berri to convene the house to ratify the court. But the opposition said only a national unity cabinet was the solution to Lebanon’s political crisis.