Middle East News
Hariri's son welcomes tribunal support from UN (Roundup)
May 30, 2007, 22:35 GMT
Beirut - The head of the anti-Syrian majority Saad Hariri, son of the late five-time premier Rafik Hariri, welcomed the UN vote on Wednesday to set up a disputed international court to try the suspects in his father's case.
'Let's all join hands in defending the international tribunal ... as an opportunity for all Lebanese to unite,' said Hariri, as he was addressing the pro-Syrian opposition in a television statement.
'Enough is enough with division ... ,' he said.
The UN Security Council voted 10-0 Wednesday to establish a controversial tribunal for suspects in the murder of Hariri and other political killings in Lebanon. The issue has sparked months of political and physical clashes in Lebanon between the pro- and anti-Syrian political groups.
Minutes after the vote, a sound bomb exploded in Beirut near the Mar Mikhail Church, an area at the outskirts of Beirut' southern suburb of Chiyahen district, without causing any casualties.
The Lebanese army immediately cordoned off the area.
In other parts of Beirut, Hariri followers flocked to his tomb waving his pictures and chanting 'justice is done.'
The Sky over Beirut was lit by fireworks shortly after the vote in celebration.
Hariri and 20 other people were killed in a massive bomb blast in February 2005, widely blamed on neighbouring Syria, which was later forced to end nearly 30 years of military and political domination of its neighbour Lebanon.
The government has accused the pro-Syrian camp of trying to bloc the formation of the court to protect their Syrian allies.
Lebanon's politics have since the Hariri assassination been snarled up in a standoff between the pro-Western government and the groups allied with Syria that have blocked Seniora's request for the creation of a tribunal to try the Hariri case.
The conflict has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people in January 2007.
Minutes after Hariri spoke to the Lebanese, Lebanon's premier Fouad Seniora, a close Friend of Hariri, said in broadcast remarks that the 'tribunal would allow for the truth and justice.'
Seniora stressed that the establishment of the tribunal is not directed 'against sister Syria,' the powerbroker in Lebanon at the time of the assassination.
'Lebanon is not the homeland of any party, group, sect, or religion, it is the country of all Lebanese,' Seniora said.
The UN decision was denounced as unlawful by the five members who abstained, but the fact that it was allowed to pass indicated the good will of the United Nations to do all it can to bring justice in the murder cases.
The resolution was adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, making it binding on UN members to implement it.
It gives Beirut until June 10 'to notify the UN in writing that the legal requirements for entry into force have been complied with.' The requirements had been agreed between the UN and Beirut and are contained in a document attached to the draft resolution.
The resolution would enter into force the day after Beirut had informed the UN in writing.
The resolution said the site of the tribunal would be decided in consultations with Beirut and the country that will host it. Expenses for the tribunal would also be borne by UN members unless Lebanon can take that responsibility.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur