Saturday, March 23, 2013
Lebanon cabinet suspended, PM may resign - cabinet sources
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati may resign on Friday after deadlock in his cabinet over preparations for a parliamentary election and a dispute over extending the term of a senior security official, ministerial sources said.
Speaking at the end of a two-hour cabinet meeting, they said President Michel Suleiman had suspended any further government meetings after Mikati's ministers failed to agree on the issues.
Mikati was due to make a public statement at 7.30 pm (1730 GMT), Lebanese media said.
Mikati was appointed premier in 2011 after the Shi'ite group Hezbollah and its allies brought down the unity government of Saad al-Hariri.
During his two years in office he has sought to insulate his country from the civil war in neighbouring Syria which deepened Lebanon's own sectarian tensions and led to street battles in the northern city of Tripoli.
The Syrian fighting, a tide of Syrian refugees pouring into Lebanon and the country's own domestic turmoil have also caused a sharp slowdown in Lebanon's economy and a 67 percent surge in its budget deficit last year.
(Reporting by Laila Bassam; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Jon Hemming)