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US supports new Lebanon electoral law

The US supports efforts in Lebanon to implement parliamentary elections, and encourages a timely and transparent election process, according to a statement [press release] made Monday by Ambassador Maura Connelly [official profile]. The statement was made after the ambassador met with President of the Chamber of Deputies Speaker Nabih Berri [embassy profile] to discuss "the political and security situation in Lebanon and regional events, particularly in Syria." During the meeting, the Ambassador "renewed the commitment of the United States to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon."

Current changes reflect a critical moment in the history of Lebanese government. In November 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official profile] urged militant group Hezbollah not to resort to violence [JURIST report] in an attempt to impede the investigation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website], which is investigating the 2005 murders of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [official website] and 22 others. In an interview published by the Lebanese Newspaper An-Nahar [official website], Clinton reiterated US support for Lebanon and noted that the work of the STL is "legitimate and necessary." She also stressed the independence of the tribunal and that "no one knows what the Special Tribunal is going to do, who it might indict, or when it might choose to move forward." Clinton's interview followed remarks made by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah [BBC profile], who said he would "cut off the hands" of any person attempting to arrest a Hezbollah member in connection with the murder. Nasrallah has previously called for all Lebanese to boycott the STL [JURIST report] after information surfaced suggesting that the tribunal is set to implicate members of Hezbollah as participants in the assassination of Hariri.

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