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U.S. rejects attempts to intimidate Lebanon special tribunal: spokesman

10-30-2010 08:53 BJT

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The United States rejects any attempts to "politicize or intimidate" the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Friday.

He said that "efforts to discredit, hinder or politicize the tribunal's work serve only to increase instability and tension inside Lebanon as well as in the region, and should not be tolerated."

"We condemn threats, you know, as yet another maneuver by Hezbollah to try to deny the Lebanese people the truth and justice that they deserve," the spokesman added.

He was referring to remarks by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who on Thursday urged the Lebanese to boycott the UN-backed special tribunal, saying any cooperation with it was tantamount to an attack on the Shiite armed group.

Hezbollah and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of Rafic Hariri, have been caught in a standoff for several months over an indictment expected to be issued by the special tribunal against members of Hezbollah, which is part of the government and designated as a terrorist group by the United States.

Two investigators from the special tribunal were attacked on Wednesday by a group of women at a gynecology clinic in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon's capital.

"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," Crowley told reporters at a press briefing. "And we will do everything that we can to help the Lebanese government, the Lebanese people resist this obvious intimidation."

He argued that "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."

Rafiq Hariri was killed in 2005 in a massive seaside bombing in Beirut along with 22 others.

Crowley rejected a Lebanese press report that the U.S. is pressuring the special tribunal to issue the indictment before its due date so as to protect the U.S. camp in the region and stop all kinds of pressure on Prime Minister Hariri.

He said that "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."

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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