Leaders of Syria, Turkey, Qatar discuss Lebanon

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The leaders of Syria, Turkey and Qatar are in Damascus discussing Lebanon's political crisis, Syria's official news agency Sana reported on Monday.

Top of the agenda for Turkey's Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is the fallout from the United Nations-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is expected on Monday to issue indictments over the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

Lebanon's coalition government collapsed on Wednesday when Hezbollah and its allies withdrew their ministers from the cabinet in anticipation of being indicted for the February 2005 killing.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has said he believes the indictments would implicate members of his party and has accused the STL of being part of a US-Israeli plot.

Rival political factions in Lebanon have since been locked in a power struggle to replace Saad Hariri, son of Rafiq, as prime minister.

Consultations aimed at nominating a new premier have been postponed until January 24, Lebanese media has reported.

Erdogan has also agreed to take part in an international "contact group" proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to help Lebanon resolve its political impasse, the Turkish premier told reporters in Istanbul on Monday before travelling to Damascus.

Sarkozy has been discussing the crisis with key figures recently including Hariri, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, the presidents of Syria and Turkey, the emir of Qatar and US President Barack Obama, the French president's office said.

© 2011 AFP

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