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Middle East
Hariri urges 'calm' over tribunal
Lebanese prime minister tries to downplay fears of sectarian strife over UN-backed probe.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2010 12:57 GMT
Nasrallah announced on Thursday that the tribunal will implicate Hezbollah members [AFP/Al-Manar]

Saad al-Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, has called for calm in Lebanon in the wake of Hezbollah's announcement that some members of the group will be implicated in his father's murder.

Al-Hariri, speaking at a conference of his Future Movement party on Saturday, tried to tamp down fears that Hezbollah's announcement will spark sectarian violence in Lebanon.

"There are those who fear or even hope that the murder case will unleash a Lebanese crisis or confessional strife," al-Hariri said.

"There are attempts... to organise campaigns aimed at sowing confusion and concern in the minds of the Lebanese people. There is no need for this fear... we call for calm."

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, said on Thursday that "undisciplined members" of the group will be linked with the 2005 assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former prime minister.

The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is investigating al-Hariri's murder. Lebanese media reported earlier this week that it could issue its first round of indictments later this year.

'National interest'

In an interview published on Friday in the London-based Al-Hayat, al-Hariri said that the tribunal's findings would be in Lebanon's "national interest".

"I will look at the national interest, and the national interest is the truth," al-Hariri said. "If it wasn't so, why was the tribunal established?"

Hezbollah has been critical of the tribunal since it began its work last year. Nasrallah repeated the group's complaints on Thursday, calling the tribunal "biased" because it "does not look into the possibility that Israel is implicated".

Rafiq al-Hariri and 22 others were killed by a bombing on the Beirut seafront on February 14, 2005. The assassination sparked an international outcry and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

The murder has been widely blamed on Syria, but Damascus has routinely denied involvement.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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