Obama meets with Lebanese prime minister
President Obama and Prime Minister Saad Hariri meet in the Oval Office Wednesday
January 12th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Obama meets with Lebanese prime minister

WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the same day the Lebanese government fell, President Obama expressed his commitment to Lebanon on Wednesday, and praised the leadership efforts of its prime minister, Saad Hariri, according to a White House readout of Obama’s meeting with Hariri in the Oval Office. The meeting was closed to coverage by print and television journalists.

Earlier on Wednesday in Beirut, members of the Hezbollah movement and its allies resigned from Lebanon’s unity movement, causing the collapse of Hariri’s government. The White House said Hezbollah’s efforts “demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government’s ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people.”

Obama stressed the importance of the United Nations-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, “as a means to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity in Lebanon,” the White House statement said. The tribunal, which is expected to indict members of Hezbollah, was at the heart of the impasse that led to the government’s collapse.

Both men also reaffirmed their commitment to Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, as well as continuing a “wide-ranging and long-term partnership” between the two countries.

Hariri was scheduled to travel to France for meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy following his visit to Washington.

Topics: President Obama

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