A+ A-

US reaffirms support for Lebanons special tribunal

WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (KUNA) -- The United States reaffirmed late on Friday its support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and stressed that it will not interfere in its work.
"We are not putting any pressure on the special tribunal at all. The tribunal was created at the request of the Lebanese government to the United Nations," said Assistant Secretary of State for public diplomacy Philip Crowley in a press briefing. "It is a professional and independent tribunal with a mandate from the United Nations Security Council and the support of the international community, " he added.
The US official was commenting on media reports quoting European diplomats saying that the US was putting pressure to issue the indictment in the case of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"We are not, have not and will not seek to influence the tribunal's work. As we have said all along, the tribunal will be allowed to operate on its own time frame and free from foreign interference. And politicizing and interfering with the work of the tribunal does not serve the interests of the Lebanese people," noted Crowley.
"Efforts to discredit, hinder or politicize the tribunal's work serve only to increase instability and tensions inside Lebanon, as well as in region, and should not be tolerated. We condemn threats as yet another maneuver by Hezbollah to try to deny the Lebanese people the truth and justice that they deserve," he added.
Hezbollahs Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced this week halting cooperation with the Special Tribunal on Lebanon.
"The special tribunal was created to investigate a heinous crime and to end impunity for these crimes. And unless and until Lebanon is able to end impunity for these crimes, it will be extremely difficult to achieve the peace and stability that all the Lebanese people deserve," said Crowley.
Asked if the US is concerned about the security in Lebanon, the US official replied that "we are paying significant attention on Lebanon because we are concerned about the increase of tension there for a variety of reasons, including anticipation of the end of the tribunal's work." "We do not know when that will occur. The tribunal should be free to work in its own timetable, arrive at a fair judgment and then announce its findings. And we reject any attempt to politicize or intimidate the tribunal as we condemned the attack on the tribunal staff earlier this week," he added.
Crowley further noted that the US administration "is helping the Lebanese government. We are demonstrating our resolve to work with the Lebanese government to protect its sovereignty and to reject sub-state actors who are trying to undermine the Lebanese government and Lebanese sovereignty." "Lebanon has suffered perhaps more than any other country with political assassinations over the years, the deaths of leaders and the impunity that groups who have tried to shape events in Lebanon has to stop," he added.
Crowley affirmed that Nasrallah's remarks "are an indication of how Hezbollah does not have the interest of all the Lebanese people in mind. It has a narrow agenda, and we will do everything that we can to help the Lebanese government, the Lebanese people resist this obvious intimidation." (end) jm.mt KUNA 300931 Oct 10NNNN