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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Feb. 14 charge against Nasrallah direct polls proposal

Mohamad Shmaysani source almanarTV

09/10/2007 Leaders from the ruling February 14 bloc lobbed sharp criticism at Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for his proposal that the people be allowed to elect a president directly. In a speech Friday marking Quds Day, Sayyed Nasrallah called for direct popular elections to choose the next president if political parties failed to reach consensus on a candidate.Legal experts have found odd the deliberate noise made over Sayyed Nasrallah's proposal. Referendum is something that all parliamentary regimes resort to in critical situations. "Article 11 of the French constitution sanctions this sort of referendum," Dr. Yusuf Saadallah el-Khouri, the former head of the State Council said. For his part, constitution expert Ahmed el-Zein stresses the Lebanese constitution states on referendum, even indirectly. "in every country, in every regime, when things get complicated, the parliament is dissolved and new elections take place, and this is what happened in Turkey," Zein said.

Saniora Calls Accusing Israel of Assassinations "Tragedy"
Sayyed Nasrallah also accused Israel of being behind the serial killings in Lebanon. However the head of the unconstitutional government Fouad Saniora described Sayyed Nasrallah's accusations as "a real tragedy." The February 14 bloc rushes to accuse Syria, without presenting evidence, every time an assassination takes place in the country. "The February 14 bloc, after minutes of each assassination, points the finger of accusation at Syria, but without evidence. I'm not saying that this bloc is killing its own leaders and I don't want to defend Syria. But using political analysis, I can say that the Israelis are responsible for killing the leaders of this bloc, after all, they are neither Israel's allies nor friends. There are historic incidents that point in this direction. The Zionists have killed Jews to force them to migrate to Palestine; it was essential for their project," Sayyed Nasrallah said in his speech. The real tragedy, according to opposition leaders, is to rule out an Israeli hand in the incidents that serve its interests and shake stability in Lebanon." The head of the Future Movement MP Saad Hariri echoed Saniora's position during an iftar in New York. He renewed accusations to Syria of being behind the wave of assassinations in Lebanon. "I believe Premier Saniora's response to Sayyed Nasrallah is enough." Former Prime Minister Salim Hoss said he felt distressed at the attempts "to clear Israel of crimes it accustomed us t." Speaking to the the Nour Radio Station, Hoss said those who are campaigning against Sayyed Nasrallah are allies to the US, "and I do not see any difference between what is called a US strategy or an Israeli strategy."

Hariri – Ban – Court of International Character
Hariri is scheduled to hold talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on ways to expedite the formation of the court of international character to try suspects in the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In addition to the tribunal and the looming presidential election, Hariri's talks are also expected to center on ways to implement other international resolutions affecting Lebanon. The Higher Judicial Council nominated 12 Lebanese magistrates in June to serve on the international court. Ban will select four out of the twelve nominated judges to serve on the court. One Lebanese judge will serve in the tribunal's trial chamber, along with two international judges, while two Lebanese judges will serve in the appeals chamber with three international judges. The deputy prosecutor at the court will be Lebanese and will be appointed by the Lebanese government in collaboration with the UN. Ban said in a report to the Security Council earlier in September that he hoped to appoint judges to the court by the end of the year. He also is expected to choose a prosecutor and someone to organize a defense team. Ban said the tribunal would not be established until the UN had an estimated $35 million to fund its operations through the first year, as well as an additional $85 million in pledges to pay for the following two years. Lebanon is expected to be billed for 49 percent of the tribunal's costs.

Berri - Geneva
Despite the apparent divisions between the rival political camps, Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri remained "optimistic" that a solution will soon be reached. Speaking to reporters in Geneva Monday after participating in the International Parliamentary union, Berri said: "I am hopeful that all our efforts and initiatives will bring about good results." Berri said his latest discussions with Hariri had been good, and that they would continue to build on what they had agreed so far. When asked whether Hariri's meetings with US officials had changed anything, Berri said: "The situation is good, and what we agreed upon will go, and nothing has changed."
"We are optimistic about the presidential issue, and reaching a solution doesn't rely only on me, but on many sides ... and not just Hariri," said Berri. Regarding fears that Resolution 1559 would be one of the main obstacles to agreeing on a consensus president, Berri said "1559 has become a silly fear ... once a president is agreed upon, then the goal of 1559 would have been accomplished." "There should be no fears from any numbers...1559 or 1701, we are with UN Resolution 1701 and implementing it fully," said Berri. When asked about the US role in Lebanon, Berri said the US is "with and against the initiative and neutral all at the same time."

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