France's UN envoy slams Beirut attack
Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert strongly condemned the "cowardly" bomb attack that killed three people in the Lebanese capital
UNITED NATIONS, January 16, 2008 - France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice
Ripert on Tuesday strongly condemned the "cowardly" bomb attack that killed
three people in a northern suburb of the Lebanese capital.
"We really once again condemn this cowardly attack," Ripert told reporters
after attending a Security Council meeting on the situation in Ivory Coast.
Three people were killed in the bomb blast that targeted a US embassy car
in a northern Beirut suburb, the latest in a string of attacks in the troubled
Lebanese media said one American inside the US car was injured, but the US
State Department said the injured employee was not a US national.
Tuesday's blast came amid a deep political crisis in Lebanon with the
Western-backed ruling majority and the Syrian-backed opposition deadlocked
over efforts to find a successor for Emile Lahoud who stood down as president
"We have to express our deep concern once again (over) the fact that some
people are trying very hard to add some more confusion to the situation in
Lebanon whereas we are needing peace, dialogue serenity," Ripert said.
He recalled comments by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner Monday
that Lebanon's political crisis would have to be taken to the United Nations
if an Arab League effort to end the impasse failed.
"For the moment we are supporting very strongly the Arab League mediation,"
the French envoy said. "We are doing our very best to help and we are prepared
to come back to the UN if it does not work."
An Arab League's three-point plan calls for the election of army chief
Michel Sleiman as president, the formation of a national unity government in
which no one party has veto power, and the adoption of a new electoral law.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa left Lebanon Saturday without clinching a deal
on the plan but vowed to return on Wednesday to continue negotiations.
Lebanon was set on January 21 to hold a 12th parliamentary session aimed at
electing a president after numerous delays despite intense international
efforts for the rival parties to agree on the Arab League compromise.