Syria denies role in Hariri killing

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - Syria's ambassador to France, Siba Nasser, reaffirmed Wednesday that her country had nothing to do with the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri.

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - Syria's ambassador to France, Siba Nasser, reaffirmed Wednesday that her country had nothing to do with the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri.

"We don't fear an international enquiry. Syria had nothing to do with it," she told French radio station Europe 1.

"If the Lebanese government accepts it (the enquiry), we will accept it," she said.

"It may be that the Lebanese will soon ask neutral countries such as European states to help them look for clues," she said.

Syria, which maintains 14,000 troops in neighbouring Lebanon, is under pressure from a UN resolution put forward by France and the United States for it to cease influencing Lebanese politics.

Syria is seen as largely directing the actions of the current Lebanese government and has become a prime suspect in speculation as to who killed Hariri and 14 other people in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on Monday.

Hariri, a 60-year-old billionaire who spearheaded Lebanon's post-war reconstruction, resigned as prime minister last October while calling for Syria to stop its meddling in his country's affairs.

Nasser told Europe 1 that Hariri "was a big friend of Syria" and asserted that Damascus "does not want a permanent or indefinite presence in Lebanon."

She said the Syrian soldiers were there at the request of the Lebanese government and if ever it asked them to withdraw, "well, then, we would leave."

Immediately after Monday's assassination, France called for an international investigation into the blast. President Jacques Chirac announced he would attend Hariri's funeral Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council condemned the "terrorist" attack and asked for a report into the "circumstances, causes and consequences" of the killing of Hariri.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article