BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has given the Finance Ministry the green light to pay Lebanon’s share of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s annual budget.
Mikati's office sent a letter to caretaker Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi informing him that the PM along with President Michel Sleiman approved the funds, ministerial sources told The Daily Star.
Lebanon pays 49 percent of the U.N.-backed court’s budget while the rest of the funds are secured by donor countries.
Two months ago, Safadi asked Mikati to give him “special approval” to secure the payment which will be made in three installments to cover the country's share of LL49 million.
In the October request, Safadi told Mikati that the funds were available.
The international court was established in 2007 to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The court has so far indicted five Hezbollah members of involvement in the killing.
The court is a controversial issue in Lebanon as Hezbollah accuses the STL of being an Israeli-U.S. tool aimed at inciting strife in the country and targeting the resistance.
Hezbollah has denied involvement in the assassination.
Under Mikati's Cabinet which is dominated by the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, the government paid its 2011 and 2012 contribution to the STL from the budget of the state-run Higher Relief Committee, which operates under the prime minister’s office.