03/26/2005, 00.00
Send to a friend

Lebanese government dismisses UN report on Hariri killing

UN accuses Syria and Lebanon's security services, but Beirut denies any involvement in the case.

Beirut (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – Lebanon's government said the UN report on the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri exceeded its authority. The report points the finger at Syria and Lebanese security services and accuses the current Lebanese administration of negligence.

The UN report that Beirut rejects indicated that there was evidence that Syria's President Bashar Assad threatened Hariri with physical harm and that the Beirut government showed a lack of commitment to finding out who killed him, bungling and even outright manipulating the investigation.

The report said that Syria was to blame for the political tensions in the country before the attack on February 14 that killed Hariri and 17 other people.

Damascus and Beirut continue to deny any involvement.

According to Mahmoud Hammoud, Lebanon's Foreign Minister, the UN fact-finding team went beyond its mandate. "The [UN] mission had no authority to allow it to reach these conclusions," he said. "We see this as infringement on the role of the Lebanese government."

Lebanese President Émile Lahoud urged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to do "what is necessary" to uncover the truth behind Hariri's assassination, signalling Lebanon's acceptance of a new international inquiry.

The UN report did not directly assign blame for Hariri's death but it did say that it was "clear that the assassination took place in a political and security context marked by an acute polarisation around the Syrian influence in Lebanon".

Mr Hammoud rejected this claim, saying tensions were caused by the United Nations' calling for Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.

The UN report indicated though that there was a "distinct lack of commitment" by the authorities to investigate the crime, and it detailed a host of flaws, including the disappearance of crucial evidence and tampering with the scene of the blast.

Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh acknowledged flaws in the security system as noted in the report, but Justice Minister Adnan Addoum rejected claims of evidence tampering and security services involvement.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Mehlis leaves, UN probe into Assad's role continues
Unless Syria co-operates the Hariri inquiry might last years, says Mehlis
Kofi Annan to travel to Europe and Middle East, including Iran
Hariri murder investigation comes to Damascus
Decision to set up international tribunal greeted with fireworks and bombs


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”