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Bush says wants justice over Hariri assassination

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, Apr 18 (Reuters) US President George W Bush said he wanted to see justice done in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, after talks today with Lebanon's current prime minister.

In a show of support for Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who is a member of Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority coalition, Bush also cited the country as an example of the type of democratic change he wants to see in the West Asia.

A UN investigation has implicated senior Syrian security officials in Hariri's killing in February 2005. Syria denied involvement but has been facing US-led efforts to isolate it.

''We talked about the need to make sure that there is a full investigation on the death of former Prime Minister Hariri. And we'll work with the international community to see that justice is done,'' Bush told reporters after his talks with Siniora in the Oval Office.

Hariri and 22 others were killed in a February. 14, 2005, truck bombing in Beirut that UN investigators concluded could not have been carried out without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security officials, working with their Lebanese counterparts.

A UN investigative commission looking into the murder, led by Belgian Serge Brammertz, has not identified the killers but has reported that it was close to a detailed understanding of how the plot was carried out.

Bush said he hoped ''out of the tough times the country has been through will rise a state that shows that it's possible of people of religious difference to live side by side in peace.'' Siniora said he appreciated US support.

''I am really convinced that President Bush and the United States will stand beside Lebanon to have Lebanon stay as a free, democratic, united and sovereign state. And the United States is really of great importance in this regard, whether this can be done directly or indirectly,'' he said.

REUTERS KD PM0006

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