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International Tribunal Investigating More than Hariri Assassination – US Diplomatic Source - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – A high-ranking US diplomatic source in Beirut told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon “is above all political movement, including the Saudi – Syrian efforts.” The US diplomat also said that with all the discussion and controversy surrounding the international tribunal’s final decision “it has been forgotten that there is more than one victim, for Prime Minister Hariri was not the only one to have been killed in this crime.”

The US diplomatic source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity expressed his confidence that the tribunal’s final decision will not lead to violence in Lebanon, but rather to justice being carried out. He also said that Lebanon is suffering from a lack of justice with regards to political assassination and that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is the mechanism to put an end to violence and assassination being used as political tools in Lebanon, denying that the US has had any involvement in the work of the international tribunal.

The US diplomatic source also reiterated America’s official position of supporting Lebanese sovereignty saying “Lebanon has many friends, including the US, and all of these friends encourage and support Lebanese sovereignty. We are all committed to a strong partnership with Lebanon, as well as committed to securing a bright future for the country.”

He added “we respect the leadership of President Michel Suleiman…and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, especially in this tense and difficult stage. We will continue to encourage all parties and organizations in Lebanon to work with one another in a responsible manner and in the interests of the Lebanese people.”

As for the international tribunal, the US diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the international community considers the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to be an independent tribunal, and that it was established at the request of the Lebanese government and as part of an agreement with the UN. The diplomatic source said that the tribunal’s work is “necessary” and that this “represents an opportunity for Lebanon to put an end to its long history of political violence.”

The US diplomatic source also spoke of his “confidence” that the international tribunal’s decision “will not lead to violence” stressing that “this will lead to justice being carried out.” He said “Lebanon is suffering from a lack of justice with regards to the crimes of political assassination, and it has suffered from this for more than 35 years. The tribunal is the mechanism to put an end to violence and assassinations being used as political tools in Lebanon.”

The source also strongly rejected the presence of a choice “between justice and stability” saying that “there is no difference between the two, and Lebanon – like every country – requires both.”

The US source also stressed that the international tribunal “was not just investigating the assassinations of Prime Minister Hariri and Basil Fuleihan but [also] their colleagues [who died] on that day.” He added that “the tribunal is [also] a procedure to end the era of crimes being committed and nobody being held responsible, and this is in the interest of all the people of Lebanon.” He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “in all the discussions that are taking place, we have forgotten that there was more than one victim, and Prime Minister Hariri was not the only one to fall victim to this crime, but there were others.”

As for the Saudi –Syrian efforts [to delay the issuance of the international tribunals decision] the US diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat that he does not have much information about this proposal, but he did stress that “the tribunal is above any political movement; it exists on a level above all our heads.”

The US diplomatic source also denied that the US had any involvement in the deliberations of the international tribunal, saying that “nobody but [tribunal commissioner] Bellemare knows the content of the tribunal’s decision.” He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “all of these discussions prior to the tribunal’s decision will not achieve anything and that it is better not to speculate on this issue” adding that “we are sure that whatever decision is made by the tribunal this not have a negative affect on Lebanon.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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