1. Exterior shot of Prime Minister's office in Beirut
2. Mid shot of Lebanese soldiers and armoured vehicle in position around Prime Minister's office
3. Mid shot of Lebanese soldiers
4. Wide shot of Lebanese soldiers and armoured vehicle
5. Wide shot of Prime Minister's office
6. Wide shot of Lebanese cabinet meeting
7. Mid shot of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora sitting at head of meeting
8. Mid shot of picture of murdered Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel placed in his position around meeting table
9. Various of cabinet ministers around table
10. Mid shot of picture of murdered Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel
12. Mid shot of Lebanese Minister of Information, Ghazi Aridi, at press conference
13. SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Ghazi Aridi, Lebanese Minister of Information:
"(The cabinet) approved the creation of an international tribunal between Lebanon and the United Nations and authorised the Justice Minister to sign this agreement with the United Nations and also to send this approval to the Lebanese Parliament for authorisation.''
The Lebanese government on Saturday approved an international tribunal for suspects in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, despite warnings of mass protests by its opponent Hezbollah.
Last-ditch attempts to reach a compromise between the government and the pro-Syrian camp, led by Hezbollah, appeared to fail as the cabinet moved forward with its meeting for a UN created court.
The tribunal is a key bone of contention in the power struggle between allies and opponents of Syria in Lebanon.
Anti-Syrian forces - mainly Christian and Sunni Muslim - dominate the government, but are facing a campaign by the mainly Shiite pro-Syrian camp to bring the government down.
The political crisis became potentially explosive this week with the assassination of an anti-Syrian politician, raising worries of more violence that could tear apart the country's fragile sectarian seams.
The anti-Syrian bloc brought out some 800,000 people for a mass rally at the funeral of the politician, Pierre Gemayel, on Thursday.
Hezbollah has shown it can bring out similar numbers for its protests - and if it goes ahead with its threatened demonstrations, many fear it could start a spiral of street action.
Earlier on Saturday, two key anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, an ally of Hezbollah and a Syria supporter, in an apparent attempt to find a compromise.
Prime Minister Fuad Saniora offered to put off the contentious Cabinet vote for several days if six pro-Hezbollah ministers who quit the government earlier this month returned.
Hezbollah demands that the government be changed to give it and its allies more power, or else it says it will launch mass protests to topple Saniora.
But the reconciliation bid appeared to have failed, and the Cabinet meeting approved a UN draft for the tribunal.
In the eyes of Hezbollah, the approval of the tribunal amounts to a rejection of its demands for a greater representation in the Cabinet.
The Shiite militant group and Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, have denounced the current government as unconstitutional, because the constitution underlines that the government must represent all of Lebanon's main communities.
"(The cabinet) approved the creation of an international tribunal between Lebanon and the United Nations and authorised the Justice Minister to sign this agreement with the United Nations and also to send this approval to the Lebanese Parliament for authorisation,'' Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said after the vote.
Aridi's statement went on to say that Prime Minister Saniora insisted the approval of the tribunal was not meant as a provocation against Hezbollah and its allies.
For opponents of Syria, the court is a major priority, and they hope it will uncover the truth behind the February 2005 assassination of Hariri in a massive bomb blast that killed 22 others, which they accuse Damascus of orchestrating. Syria has denied any role in the killing.
The court, which will sit outside Lebanon and have a majority of non-Lebanese judges, is to try four Lebanese generals - top pro-Syrian security chiefs under Lahoud including his Presidential Guard commander, who have been under arrest for 14 months, accused of involvement in
The UN investigation into Hariri's death has also implicated Brigadier General Assaf Shawkat, Syria's military intelligence chief and the brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Shawkat is not in custody.
Hariri's death was the first in a string of attacks that killed five other prominent anti-Syrian figures - with Gemayel the most recent, in a bold daytime shooting on Tuesday.
Many Lebanese blame Syria in all the killings, which Damascus denies.
Since Gemayel's assassination, some ministers in Saniora's Cabinet have moved into the heavily guarded prime minister's building in downtown Beirut, fearing more slayings.