Lebanon to file complaint against Israel

Information Minister Tarek Mitri said following Wednesday’s cabinet session that the government agreed to file a complaint with the UN Security Council against Israel for spy rings uncovered in Lebanon since April 2009, noting that they are in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

Three Alfa telecom employees have been arrested since June 24, 2010 for collaborating with Israel.

Mitri also said the cabinet agreed to issue a detailed report on spy networks in Lebanon. The government then agreed to form a ministerial committee to look into draft bills on wiretapping to be headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and include Baroud, Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar, Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas, Minister of State for Administrative Reform Mohammad Fneish and State Minister Jean Ogassapian.

“There seems to be a commitment [by all ministers] not to exaggerate things or to resort to fiery rhetoric,” said Mitri.

The information minister also told reporters that the cabinet was mainly concerned with clarifying why the Internal Security Forces (ISF) failed to arrest alleged spy Alfa employee Charbel Kazzi earlier, after Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah raised questions regarding the issue during his Friday speech.

According to the ISF, the Telecommunications Ministry waited until after Kazzi was arrested by the Lebanese army on June 24 to hand over phone records that could have led to his arrest earlier.

“The most important thing is that there was no negligence by the ISF or army,” said Mitri.

He also said that the cabinet touched on the Hizb al-Tahrir’s Sunday meeting – that the party aims to turn the country into an Islamic nation, which could then become part of a greater Islamic nation across the Middle East – saying that Baroud explained to the cabinet that since the party held a closed meeting, there are no grounds for withdrawing the group’s license.

This comes after several ministers slammed Baroud for not withdrawing the party’s license following its statement.
Also, the minister said Hariri briefed the cabinet on his Sunday trip to Syria, saying it was a step in the right direction for developing good relations with Syria. The PM and Lebanese delegation signed 17 cooperation agreements during the two-day visit. President Michel Sleiman underscored the importance of benefiting from a positive relationship with Damascus, according to Mitri.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s press office issued a statement on Wednesday confirming earlier reports that Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will hold “an important press conference” on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.

Nasrallah last week stirred up controversy after saying that an indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is an “Israeli project” designed to target Hezbollah by stirring up sectarian strife in Lebanon.


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