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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

Syrian plan to put Walid Jumblatt on trial falls flat

The Lebanese Parliament has rejected Syria's summons of anti-Syrian Lebanese MP Walid Jumblatt and Telecoms Minister Marwan Hamadeh.

In a rare move, a Syrian military court summoned them to appear for treason. It was also highly unusual for the Lebanese Parliament to issue a statement rejecting the move.

Parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri said they refused to accept the summons "in form and in content". What's interesting is that Berri (leader of Shia party Amal and a key ally of Syria) was heard speaking those words.

The Hariri party voted for the statement, but Syrian allies and Hizbollah all stayed quiet by abstaining rather than voting no.

America criticised the summons as evidence of Syria's influence in Lebanon. But could a Lebanese statement have been imagined just a year ago? Isn't that the strongest evidence that Syria has little influence in its western neighbour?

Does that warrent enable Syria to arrest Jumblat anywhere?.

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