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Syrian Official: Damascus Unconcerned with the Establishment of International Tribunal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Damascus, Asharq Al-Awsat- While the Security Council was holding a session in New York to discuss the draft resolution of the international tribunal to prosecute the suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, the Syrians were celebrating Bashar al-Assad’s re-election for another seven year term.

Damascus stayed up that night as Syrian armed forces celebrated with fireworks, while a rally of cars decorated with Al-Assad’s pictures and slogans of support took to the streets until the early hours.

Despite that fact that the issue of establishing the international tribunal was a hot international issue, however, the Syrian street was not interested in it. This was later explained to Asharq Al-Awsat by an official source that Syria is not concerned with this tribunal. A statement that was confirmed by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Al-Muallim to journalists last week who said that” any national resolution is prior to any international resolution, a point that we would explain more clearly because there are some people who say that Syria signed UN Charter. This is the point; we signed the charter but not to realize US interests and those of its allies.”

In response to a question from Asharq Al-Awsat regarding the Syrian position on the Security Council’s approval of the draft resolution of the tribunal under the Seventh Chapter, Hanin Nimir, first secretary of Syrian Communist Party and Secretary of Syrian People’s Assembly, said: “Syria is not concerned with the issue of the court, but this does not mean that we have no opinion on the direction that the draft of the tribunal’s structure will take. This was full with breaches of international and Lebanese laws. However, the project was passed in an illegal manner.

Nimir asked: “How can the UN agree to discuss the tribunal’s structure while it is not legally laid down in the concerned country, since it was not approved by the Chamber of Deputies or by the president”. He added that the ruling team had smuggled in the draft resolution, which the Security Council accepted to discuss, although the United Nations is supposed to embody the conscience of the world and its balance of justice.

Nimir said the irregular direction, which the draft resolution took, incited some Security Council members to ask to return it to Lebanon in order to be constitutionally approved, adding that Saudi Arabia played a positive role to calm the situation in Lebanon.

He added: “Seemingly, there are few parties that do not want Saudi Arabia and Arabs to intervene in Lebanon but to leave the issue to Americans who are striving to internationalize and Americanize Lebanon.” He maintained that “it is a tool to conquer Lebanon. The seventh chapter has conditions stipulating UN intervention in case the country is ravaged by civil war or suffering internal instability or when the government is inexistent or unable to exercise authority, and then UN enters the country to replace the government. However, this is not the case in Lebanon.”

He said that “there are some people who try to create this reality in Lebanon through stirring the Lebanese political arena.” He noted that the clashes and the storming of Nahr Al-Barid camp was aimed at creating conditions leading to the establishment of the court under the Seventh Chapter, but the wisdom of most Lebanese and Palestinians prevented the storming of the camp.

Hanin Nimir’s statements agreed with other Syrian analysts’ opinions who expressed disapproval of some Lebanese and international parties’ rush to vote the draft resolution of the tribunal before the investigation of the international committee finishes, which requires one year at least. They see this as a sign of their partial position and the attempts to politicize the court.