BEIRUT (AFP) -Lebanon’s leading opposition party Hezbollah will not give to a UN envoy proposed changes it wants made to a court to try suspects in the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri, newspapers said on Thursday.
“Nicolas Michel asked us about our remarks or reservations,” said Energy Minister Mohamad Fneish, one of the Hezbollah cabinet members who submitted their resignation in November, throwing Lebanon in political paralysis.
“Undoubtedly, we have remarks about the regulations of the tribunal, but we will only present them to a legitimate (Lebanese) government,” he was quoted by An Nahar as saying on Thursday.
Fneish was speaking after talks on Wednesday with the UN’s top legal advisor Michel, who was meeting government and opposition leaders to encourage them to renew dialogue and accept parliamentary ratification of a Lebanon-UN agreement to set up the court.
“Hezbollah will only present its remarks within the framework of a judicial commission so that they are adopted by a government of national union,” Fneish reiterated.
The Syrian-backed opposition sees the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora as illegitimate since all five representatives of the Shiite community presented their resignations in November.
It has also considered as illegitimate the agreement signed since then by the United Nations and the Siniora government for setting up the tribunal.
Fneish called on the United Nations “to help adopt the tribunal through Lebanese constitutional institutions, and refrain from taking sides in the (Lebanese) internal dispute.”
Lebanon’s Syrian-backed opposition has blocked the establishement of the court to try suspects in the 2005 Hariri murder, widely blamed on Damascus despite Syrian denials.
The agreement to set up the tribunal must be ratified by Lebanon’s divided parliament, but house speaker Nabih Berri, an influential leader of the opposition, has refused to convene parliament.
A Hezbollah statement published in Beirut newspapers on Thursday “warned against (Lebanese government) attempts to force the adoption of the tribunal by the Security Council through chapter VII” of the United Nations which provides for the use of force to impose the implementation of UN resolutions.
“This will have destructive effects on Lebanon,” it said.