Excerpts from UN al-Hariri report

Following are excerpts from a 19-page report by a UN fact-finding mission into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, killed by a bomb blast on 14 February.

    Former Lebanese premier Rafiq al-Hariri was killed 14 February

    The context: Al-Hariri began to side with the anti-Syrian opposition after the Lebanese parliament changed the constitution in September that allowed a third term for Lebanese President Emile Lahud, an ally of Syria.

     

    The excerpts:

     

    * The Lebanese security services have demonstrated serious and systematic negligence in carrying out the duties usually performed by a professional national security apparatus.

     

    * The Syrian military intelligence shares this responsibility to the extent of its involvement in running the security services in Lebanon.

     

    * Syria bears primary responsibility for the political tension that preceded the assassination of former prime minister al-Hariri.

     

    Serious flaws

     

    * It became clear to the mission that the Lebanese investigation process suffers from serious flaws and has neither the capacity nor the commitment to reach a satisfactory and credible conclusion.

     

    * It is therefore the mission's view that an international independent investigation would be necessary to find the truth.

     

    * Al-Hariri met Syrian President Bashar al-Asad in Damascus in a last attempt to convince him not to support the extension (of the presidential term in Lebanon for Emile Lahud last September). The meeting reportedly lasted for 10 minutes, and was the last time al-Hariri met al-Asad.

     

    * According to testimonies, al-Asad threatened both al-Hariri and Walid Jumblat with physical harm if they opposed the extension for Lahud. (Jumblat is the Druze

    opposition leader in Lebanon)

     

    * Al-Asad added that he "would rather break Lebanon over the heads of al-Hariri and Jumblat than see his word in Lebanon broken".

    SOURCE: Reuters


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