UN calls on new Lebanese government to cooperate with Special Tribunal over former PM murder

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Friday called for the recently designated Lebanese government to cooperate with the Special Tribunal trying suspects over the murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

"This is an independent international justice system, justice process. Nobody, no country, should interfere or obstruct the smooth proceedings of this justice process." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added.

Lebanon is currently transitioning into new government after the last one, led by Saad Hariri, collapsed two weeks ago after 11 Hezbollah and allied ministers resigned over differences over ceasing support to the UN-backed tribunal.

Former Prime Minister Hariri rejected ceasing support and President President Suleiman designated Najib Makiti as PM designate. Makiti is backed by the Hezbollah Shia Islamist group.

"I have been very much concerned about this politicizing of this Special Tribunal," Ban said. "I hope that the Lebanese people and government will be able to restore the political stability and engage in their social, economic, political development."

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams met with Makiti on Wednesday. Williams said he is sure that the new government will continue supporting and cooperating with the UN.

The Special Tribunal was set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission on the 2005 assassination of then PM Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.

The Commission found out that the Lebanese investigation was seriously flawed. Last week the court received its first indictment but its contents remain confidential at this stage.


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