21 Jan 2011

Talks on crisis Lebanon suspended

12:24 pm on 21 January 2011

Ministers from Turkey and Qatar have suspended efforts to mediate in a political crisis in Lebanon. Two days of talks with rival political groups have not made progress.

Last week, the Lebanese government collapsed because of a dispute over a tribunal backed by the UN investigating the murder of former PM Rafiq Hariri on 14 February, 2005.

Sealed indictments have been issued. The BBC reports it is believed these point to the involvement of Hizbollah in the killing.

Earlier in the week the Saudi foreign minister pulled out of the mediation, warning of a dangerous situation in Lebanon.

Now Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani of Qatar and Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu have also left Lebanon.

However, a statement was issued that suggested they had made some progress.

The BBC reports that Hizbollah has vowed to retaliate if, as expected, its members are implicated.

Last week, the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri - Rafik Hariri's son - was brought down over his refusal to denounce the tribunal and cut part of its funding.

Hizbollah has denounced the inquiry, calling it a US-Israeli plot. It denies any involvement in the killing.