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» 03/01/2005 16:07
LEBANON - SYRIA
People power sinks Karami government
Situation unbearable, Interior Minister says, urges calm. Patriarch Sfeir is scheduled to meet US President Bush on March 16 in Washington.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – After a day of general strike and street demonstrations, the Lebanese are cheering the resignation of the pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Omar Karami.

The announcement that the cabinet had resigned came late in the evening, yesterday, right after the Lebanese parliament reconvened to discuss the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Mr Karami, who had been appointed to the post in October 2004, quit "so as to not hamper the investigation" into the murder of his predecessor.

Despite a government ban on demonstrations, thousands of people—both Christian and Muslim—had gathered in central Beirut on Sunday evening and took part in a rally on Monday to honour the memory of the late Prime Minister who was killed on February 14.

Lebanon's opposition parties and the international community point the finger at Syria as an instigator of the Hariri murder.

Opposition MPs waving the national flag in the capital's Martyr Square, the symbol of the protest movement, found themselves together with young protesters who had set up a tent city near Hariri's burial place.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt reiterated the opposition's intention to pursue their peaceful struggle to see the Taef accords implemented which, among other things, call for the pullout of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

The opposition is also calling for the dismissal of chiefs of the country's secret and security services.

Interior Minister Suleiman Frangieh backed Karami's decision.

Speaking to AsiaNews he said he would not join the new government and urged people to stay calm. The situation, in his view, had become unbearable. "Thank God, there has not yet been any violence," he said. "I am going home with a clear conscience," he added.

Bahia Hariri, the late Prime Minister's sister, is being mentioned as a possible successor. Sources close to Ms Hariri have however denied the rumour saying she urges everyone to focus on how to help the country overcome the current crisis.

Karami's resignation was well received in the US. White House press secretary Scott McClellan Scott McClellan said this event can pave the way to fresh elections in Lebanon and, referring to Syria, "free it from all foreign interference".

Press secretary McClellan also announced that the Maronite Patriarch, Card Nasrallah Sfeir, will officially meet US George W. President Bush on March 16 in Washington. (YH)

 


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See also
12/02/2004 LEBANON
Maronite Bishops denounce pro-Syrian demo
03/03/2005 LEBANON
Lebanese bishops call for interim government, urge unity
09/24/2004 LEBANON - syria
It is time Syria let Lebanon be sovereign, Cardinal Sfeir says
08/30/2004 Lebanon - syria
Patriarch Sfeir slams Syrian influence on constitutional changes
02/21/2005 LEBANON – SYRIA
Maronite Patriarch says Syria should withdraw in a situation of calm and dialogue
lebanon - syria
Dozens of Lebanese political prisoners still held in Syrian jails
LEBANON
Decisive next 48 hours
LEBANON
Lebanese government dismisses UN report on Hariri killing
LEBANON
Sfeir calls for a government that would prepare the elections and work for reconciliation
LEBANON
We want a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon, says Patriarch Sfeir
Lebanon
Cardinal Sfeir: full sovereignty for Beirut, but demonstrations are worrisome
LEBANON – SYRIA
Christian-Sunni opposition rejects new pro-Syrian government
LEBANON
Opposition backed by Patriarch Sfeir meets
LEBANON - SYRIA
New government caught between opposing demonstrations
LEBANON
Lebanon has a right to sovereignty, says Patriarch Sfeir
SYRIA-LEBANON
Syria is to start redeploying its troops in Lebanon today, not to withdraw
LEBANON - SYRIA
Lebanon becomes once again a model for the Middle East
SYRIA - LEBANON
Russia and US press Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon
LEBANON
Lebanese bishops call for interim government, urge unity
LEBANON - SYRIA
Syria out, say Lebanese Christians and Muslims
LEBANON - SYRIA
Anti-Syrian demonstration defies government ban
LEBANON - SYRIA
Dialogue between opposition and pro-Syrian faction urgent, says Maronite Patriarch
LEBANON – SYRIA
Maronite Patriarch says Syria should withdraw in a situation of calm and dialogue
VATICAN - LEBANON
Papal telegram to Patriarch Sfeir for Rafik Hariri's death
LEBANON - USA - SYRIA
After Hariri's death, US official invites Patriarch Sfeir to the US
LEBANON - SYRIA
A freedom-crushing regime behind Hariri's assassination, Lebanese Bishops say
LEBANON - VATICAN
Patriarch and Vatican's nuncio offer their condolences to Hariri's family
LEBANON
Car bomb kills Lebanon's former Prime Minister

Editor's choices
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Dossier
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