Russia: German report on Hariri murder 'provocative'

26th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Germany's Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that the UN commission probing the Hariri murder had new evidence that Hezbollah special forces ‘planned and executed’ the Beirut car bombing.

Beirut -- Visiting Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced as "provocative" on Monday a German magazine report which claimed Hezbollah was behind the 2005 murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

"We consider what was published in Der Spiegel an attempt to politicise matters and we consider all such attempts provocative," Lavrov said after meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

Germany's Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that the UN commission probing the Hariri murder had new evidence that Hezbollah special forces "planned and executed" the Beirut car bombing on February 14, 2005.

The attack killed the billionaire former premier and 22 other people.

Lavrov, who visited Hariri's grave in Beirut before leaving Lebanon, told reporters that Moscow backed The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) as long as its work was objective.

"We regard the work of the STL highly as long as it remains professional, unbiased and not politicised," Lavrov said, adding that he did not believe the tribunal would condone attempts to destabilise the situation in Lebanon.

Der Spiegel's claims come ahead of a June 7 election in Lebanon that pits the US- and Saudi-backed parliamentary majority against an alliance headed by the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, which has the support of Syria and Iran.

Lavrov said Moscow would respect the outcome of the vote whoever wins.

"Russia has no political conditions on bilateral relations," he said. "We respect whatever choice the Lebanese make.

"We deal with all Lebanese political forces that represent different parts of Lebanese society," he added. "There must be acceptance of the outcome of the vote not only by the Lebanese but also by the international community."

AFP/Expatica

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