UN insists: an inquest into the Hariri case, vital for dialogue
Nicolas Michel, chief UN legal advisor has met with Lebanon’s political leaders, reminding them that the prompt ratification of the treaty for the creation of the tribunal to resolve the 2005 murder of former premier Hariri, is necessary. Hezbollah rejects dialogue, Ban Ki-moon confirms a visit to Damascus.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) –The United Nations yesterday asked for a return to dialogue between Lebanon’s political factions and underscored the need for a prompt creation of the tribunal to resolve the 2005 murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri.


Nicolas Michel, the UN's top legal adviser, met yesterday with Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a leading opposition figure. After the meeting, Michel stated that: “The establishment of this tribunal will be a victory... for all the Lebanese”.


He said "I hope our efforts will bear fruit" in helping Lebanese leaders return to dialogue for the "earliest establishment" of the international court to try suspects in Hariri's murder.


The United Nations and Lebanon's government signed a deal to set up the tribunal, following Hariri’s murder in a car bomb attack, but this must be ratified by the country's divided parliament.


Berri, who is staunchly pro-Syrian (Syria is strongly suspected of involvement in the Hariri murder), refuses to convene parliament. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the main opposition party Hezbollah which is backed by Syria and Iran, said the court in its current proposed form was "conceived in such a way that it would return pre-established verdicts."”.


Hezbollah officials who met Michel refused to give him the proposed changes they wanted made to the court, saying they would only present them to a “legitimate Lebanese government”.


In this climate of tension UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Damascus.  His trip will begin with a meeting with President Assad on April 24.