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Assad: Don't Dare Blame Hizbullah for Hariri Murder

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned an international tribunal against finding Hizbullah guilty for Rafik al-Hariri's murder;
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/1/2010, 12:36 AM / Last Update: 8/1/2010, 12:28 AM

Israel news file (photo)

At a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Saudi King Abdullah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called for an immediate end to the activity of the United Nations international tribunal investigating the death of former Lebanese leader Rafik al-Hariri. Assad said that the tribunal had become a “burden” on Lebanon, and threatened the country's stability.
Assad warned the tribunal against finding Hizbullah guilty for Hariri's murder; such a decision could “destroy” Lebanon, he said.


A report in the Lebanese press quoted Assad as warning the tribunal against finding Hizbullah guilty for Hariri's murder; such a decision could “destroy” Lebanon, he said, adding that the tribunal has  “nearly caused a tragedy in the Middle East.” He said that the tribunal had attempted to falsely blame Syria as well. “We cannot accept the same results regarding Hizbullah,” he said. If, at one time, the tribunal was attempting to find the parties guilty for Hariri's death, today it had become a tool by which to persecute countries that were not pro-American, he claimed. Hizbullah top terrorist Hassan Nasrallah is set to make a speech Tuesday, in which he will discuss the investigation.

According to the report, Abdullah said that it was doubtful that the tribunal could be stopped at this point, since it had major international backing. The meeting was seen as an attempt by Assad to deliver a message to Sa'ad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon, with whom Abdullah has close ties. Sa'ad is the son of Rafik Hariri.