6. Wide of media conference with Lebanese Information Minister, Ghazi Aridi
7. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ghazi Aridi, Lebanese Information Minister:
"The Lebanese government believes that it is time for the Security Council to help to establish the International Tribunal and make it a reality. Therefore we are submitting our request to the Security Council and to put the Tribunal on track."
8. Cutaway cameramen
9. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Ghazi Aridi, Lebanese information minister
"The continuing delays (in regard to) the establishment of the (international) tribunal will have a negative affect on the stability in Lebanon, the achievement of justice, the credibility of the United Nations and the peace and security in the region."
Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora formally asked the UN Security Council on Monday to impose an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Saniora sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asking that the tribunal be established, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi told reporters.
"The Lebanese government believes that it is time for the Security Council to help to establish the International Tribunal and make it a reality. Therefore we are submitting our request to the Security Council and to put the Tribunal on track," added Aridi.
He said the continuing delays in establishing the international tribunal was having, "a negative affect on the stability in Lebanon, the achievement of justice, the credibility of the United Nations and the peace and security in the region".
The request follows Saniora's failure to win opposition support for the international court.
Saniora's move, which effectively bypasses the divided legislature, is bound to further deepen a fierce power struggle between the prime minister's Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition.
The issue of an international tribunal that would try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Hariri has sharply polarised Lebanon.
It is at the core of a deep political crisis between the government and opposition groups - a conflict that has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people in recent months.
Saniora's letter to Ban is the second in recent weeks.
On April 10, Saniora sent a letter to Ban asking the Security Council "to study alternative means and ways that will lead, without any delay, to the creation of the tribunal".
In that letter, he also accused the opposition-ally Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri of "paralyzing" the assembly because he refused to convene a session to ratify the tribunal.
Also last month, 70 of parliament's 128 members sent a memorandum to Ban demanding UN action to establish the tribunal.
In his letter of Monday, Saniora again blamed Berri for parliament's failure to ratify the tribunal.
"For all practical purposes the domestic route to ratification had reached a dead end, with no prospect for a meeting of parliament to complete formal ratification," Saniora said in his letter written in English, a copy of which was faxed to The Associated Press.