Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Tuesday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
An-Nahar: Tribunal faces same crisis as government formation
Amid confusion raised by reports about the possibility of an imminent release of the indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati faced a new round of stagnation over the STL issue, meaning the finalization of the government’s policy statement before the end of the constitutional deadline [of 1 month] is being blocked.
Disagreement between the supporters of the two approaches to the STL prevented the subject from being discussed at a fifth round of a ministerial committee meeting Monday.
Ministerial sources said the STL was facing the same crisis as that of the government formation process in terms of the inflexibility shown by the team that refuses to include any STL formula in the policy statement, and as a result is trying to buy time.
The sources told An-Nahar that all aspects of the draft policy statement are being revised except for the main obstacle [the STL] in the light of ongoing differences between Mikati and Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, political circles were preoccupied Monday with reports about the imminent issuance of the indictment.
Following an unannounced visit to the Grand Serail Monday that was described as “private,” State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza said Lebanon has not been informed about an imminent release of the indictments or a request for the interrogation of any Lebanese citizens.
As-Safir: Mikati’s line on thorny [STL] clause not achieved ... Court: No date for indictments
Lebanon remained affected by a torrent of leaks about an imminent release of the indictments in Hariri’s assassination, a development that is swamped with question marks about the significance of raising this issue at this particular time amid approval of a policy statement.
While ministerial sources said the approval of the STL clause awaits a “Mikati formula,” As-Safir learnt that consultations held by Mikati over the past 48 hours did not produce a compromise over the STL issue.
Al-Mustaqbal: Rai receives message from Hariri … Beirut lives on the prospect of imminent release of indictments
The STL clause in the policy statement and the possibility of an imminent release of the STL indictments dominated the political scene Monday.
In a telephone call with Al-Mustaqbal, Mirza denied having received anything related to the STL indictments, stressing that in line with the agreement with the STL, Lebanon is the first to receive a copy of this decision.
Meanwhile, ex-PM Saad Hariri dispatched his political adviser Daoud Sayegh to Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai with a message related to the current situation in Lebanon and the region.
Ad-Diyar: Dispute between Mikati, Jumblatt and majority over STL
It became clear that there is difference in views between Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who is backed by MP Walid Jumblatt, and between Hezbollah, [Michel Aoun’s] Free Patriotic Movement and the majority – who make up about 18 ministers of the 30-member Cabinet – over a formula for the STL clause in the government’s policy statement.
Ad-Diyar came up with a conclusion that differences between Mikati and Hezbollah have taken place recently with regards to the government formation or the perception of many issues. This dispute, however, is confined to certain points and is not wide-ranging.
A source close to Mikati told Ad-Diyar that the Prime Minister is obliged to take into account the resistance’s status and at the same time he is compelled to take into account the international community, on top of his standing within the Sunni community, which would accuse him of betraying the STL investigation concerning Hariri’s assassination, thus forcing Mikati to look for a formula that satisfies both the resistance [Hezbollah] and takes into account the reality of the Sunni community.
Hezbollah’s stance, according to Ad-Diyar assessments, is that the resistance cannot but accept a formula on the STL approved by the majority which has 18 ministers in the government.
Al-Akhbar: Ministerial Committee: fifth juice-free meeting
The weekend’s efforts failed to produce a deal on the STL clause in the policy statement that could be put on the table for discussions during a fifth round of ministerial committee talks Monday, which led to the postponement of the issue to a sixth meeting, with no signs that could be the last one, particularly after the emergence of a Hezbollah position which stressed that the Mikati policy statement won’t come out unless there is a unanimous agreement by the new majority [March 8 coalition].