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LEBANON UN draft on Hariri murder circulated

The United States, France and Britain circulated a UN resolution on Thursday that would establish a tribunal to try suspects in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri and 22 others in 2005.

Agencies
May 18, 2007

United Nations: The United States, France and Britain circulated a UN resolution on Thursday that would establish a tribunal to try suspects in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri and 22 others in 2005.

The draft resolution, distributed to the UN Security Council, asks the 15 members to approve an earlier agreement of draft statutes for the court that the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora signed in November 2006.

Siniora on Monday asked the Security Council to help break the political impasse in Beirut over the creation of the court by adopting a binding resolution.

But he is opposed by Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, who warned on Tuesday that the tribunal's creation could lead to violence in Lebanon, which is undergoing its worst political crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Hariri was assassinated in a bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005, the first in a series of killings of anti-Syrian figures. Syria has denied involvement and its Lebanese allies oppose the tribunal in its current form.

France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the measure "was aimed at helping the Lebanese find a way out of the current dead end."

Asked if the creation of a tribunal would destabilise Lebanon, US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad said, "We understand that there are some risks, some say, with regard to taking action, but we believe that the risks of not taking action are greater."