x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Hizbollah leader Nasrallah expected on TV tonight

Hassan Nasrallah will make his first appearance in public since his party and its allies resigned from Lebanon's cabinet on the country’s Al Manar television network, the station says.

The leader of Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement is to speak on the country’s Al Manar television network tonight at 8.30pm local time, the station said today.

Hassan Nasrallah’s appearance will be the first time he has spoken in public since his party and its allies resigned from the cabinet over the UN-backed Special Tribumal for Lebanon’s investigation into the assassination of the country’s prime minister, Rafiq Hariti, in 2005.

The resignations brought down the government, led by Mr Hariri’s son, Saad, and the country’s politicians are currently trying to put together a new cabinet.

The prosecutors investigating the assassination are expected to submit a charge sheet to a pre-trial judge tomorrow. Daniel Fransen, the pre-trial judge, will then examine the findings before confirming the indictment. Arrest warrants or summonses would be then be issued, a process that could take six to 10 weeks.

However, Hizbollah has said it would not accept the indictment of any of its members for the assassination, and in November Mr Nasrallah declared that the group would "cut off the hand" of anyone who tries to arrest anybody from Hizbollah for the killing of Hariri.

After Hizbollah walked out of the government, Lebanon’s president, Michel Sleiman, asked Saad Hariri to stay on in a caretaker capacity, and will start consultations with MPs on appointing a new prime minister on Monday.

Yesterday, Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Lebanon's leading Sunni religious leader, backed the formation of a new government by Saad Hariri, saying it was "in the interest of Lebanon", and that  stability was the country’s most urgent need.

According to the London-based Al Hayat newspaper, the political bloc led by the Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt would also name Mr Hariri as their nominee to head the new government.