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Nasrallah will not cause 'trouble' to 'American-Israeli tribunal' over funds!

BEIRUT - Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday his militant party would not cause "trouble" over

New realities in MidEast: financing your own demise

Hezbollah rhetoric continues, but Nasrallah has no alternative but to accept financing tribunal.

the premier's decision to fund a controversial UN court, in order to preserve the national interest.

"Even though we remain opposed to the tribunal, we are not going to cause trouble as we place the country's national interest above all else," Nasrallah said in a televised address.

His comments came a day after Prime Minister Najib Mikati, after months of political wrangling, announced that he had transferred Lebanon's share of funding to a UN-backed tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

Hezbollah and its allies were fiercely opposed to the funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and in January had toppled the government of Saad Hariri, the slain leader's son, over the issue.

Mikati last week had threatened to resign should his Hezbollah-dominated government refuse to fund the Netherlands-based STL, which has indicted four Hezbollah operatives for Hariri's murder.

Nasrallah said he had decided not to stand in Mikati's way to ensure stability and avoid a government collapse.

He underlined, however, that this did not mean his party endorsed Mikati's decision or supported the tribunal.

"This American-Israeli tribunal is unconstitutional, illegal and politically motivated," Nasrallah said.

He added that had Mikati put the funding issue to a vote before the cabinet, his party would have been opposed.

The $32 million (24 million euros) sent to the STL were drawn from the High Relief Council, part of the prime minister's office's budget, and as such did not need cabinet approval.

Since its creation in 2007 by a UN Security Council resolution, the STL has been a constant source of political tension in Lebanon.

Hezbollah, the most powerful military and political force in Lebanon, has denounced the court as part of a US-Israeli plot and has vowed that party members accused will never be found or handed over.

The STL is the first international criminal tribunal with jurisdiction over terrorism offences and a mandate to try defendants in absentia if necessary.

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