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Hezbollah chief to address Lebanon crisis

As the brewing Lebanese crisis drags on, Nasrallah is expected to give a speech Sunday afternoon addressing the country's predicament

AFP , Sunday 23 Jan 2011
Lebanon
In this photo released by Hezbollah Media Office 21 January 2011 chief Hassan Nasrallah (L) meets with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt (R) in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)
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Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah will give a televised speech on Sunday to address a deepening political crisis in Lebanon, the powerful Shiite party said in a statement.

"Nasrallah will appear on Al-Manar TV at 8:30 pm (1830 GMT) Sunday to address the current situation and developments in Lebanon," read the brief statement, referring to the Hezbollah-run television channel.

The address comes on the eve of parliamentary talks with the president to appoint a new prime minister after Hezbollah toppled the unity government of Saudi-backed Saad Hariri this month.

Lebanon's rival camps, led respectively by the pro-Western Hariri and Iranian-backed Hezbollah, will go head to head on Monday when they name their choice for the premiership.

Hariri's coalition has 60 seats in the 128-seat parliament against 57 for the Hezbollah camp, which has categorically rejected the Sunni leader's bid to head a new government.

MP Walid Jumblatt, head of Lebanon's minority Druze community, holds the key as to whether Hariri or Hezbollah's candidate, rumoured to be veteran politician Omar Karameh, will head the next Lebanese government.

Jumblatt on Friday announced he was siding with Syria and Hezbollah in the political feud.

But there are still no guarantees he will clinch the backing of enough of his MPs to guarantee Hezbollah and its allies can impose their own candidate for the premiership.

Hariri's government collapsed on 12 January with the resignations of 11 ministers representing Hezbollah and its allies.

The walkout capped a long-running dispute over a UN-backed investigation into the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri, Saad's father.

Nasrallah has said he expects the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon to implicate high-ranking members of his militant movement in the Hariri murder, and has warned of grave repercussions.

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