LBC INTERNATIONAL - Non AP Television News material
24 November 2011
1. Wide of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati being interviewed
2. SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Najib Mikati, Lebanese Prime Minister:
"I believe that by resigning I would be protecting Lebanon. Because if I am there, if I stayed on and we made the decision - and I believe in democracy (being the correct way to make decisions) - and the Cabinet decided not to fund (the tribunal), then if I stayed on in my post, sanctions will come to Lebanon, all of Lebanon, because I would have rubber-stamped it and agreed to the Cabinet's decision not to commit (to funding the tribunal)."
25 November 2011
3. Various of street scenes
4. Tilt down newspapers displayed on stand
5. Close-up of The International newspaper front page, headline reads (in Arabic) "Mikati's decision to resign is rejected by finance ministry."
Lebanon's prime minister has threatened to step down if the country's Cabinet refuses to fund a UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of a Lebanese statesman Rafik Hariri.
The move would almost certainly plunge the deeply divided country into a political crisis.
In a televised interview broadcast late on Thursday, Najib Mikati said he refused to head a government that did not honour Lebanon's obligation to support the Netherlands-based court in investigating the death of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
"I refuse to be in a post in which Lebanon fails to commit to its international obligations," Mikati said in the interview with the local LBC TV station. "By resigning, I would be protecting Lebanon."
The investigation, and the degree to which the Lebanese authorities should cooperate with it, has become one of the most controversial issues in Lebanese politics in recent years.
Mikati's stance in favour of cooperation is in stark contrast with some of his allies, including the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group, which strongly backed him as prime minister five months ago.
Hariri was killed by a suicide truck bomb on February 14, 2005, in one of the most dramatic political assassinations in the Middle East.
A billionaire businessman, he was at the time Lebanon's most prominent politician.
The United Nations and the Lebanese government subsequently instituted a Special Tribunal for Lebanon to investigate the case.
It has since indicted four members of Hezbollah in the killing.
The group denies any role in the assassination.
The Hezbollah-backed government of Mikati now faces a deadline for agreeing to pay Lebanon's 49 percent share in the tribunal for this year.
Hezbollah and its allies, who hold the majority of seats in Mikati's government, have rejected its funding by the Lebanese government. They consider the court to be illegitimate.
The issue is to be discussed at a crucial Cabinet session next week.
Mikati was Hezbollah's pick for prime minister five months ago when he replaced Saad Hariri, the slain prime minister's son. Hariri was ousted from his post by Hezbollah and its allies for his refusal to end Lebanon's cooperation with the tribunal.
Western countries have hinted at possible sanctions if Lebanon fails to cooperate.
Mikati, in the interview, said he wanted to spare Lebanon the consequences.