France makes cash injection to Lebanon tribunal

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France on Friday condemned efforts to undermine the UN court investigating the killing of Lebanon's former premier Rafiq Hariri as it announced a cash injection for the tribunal.

Tensions have escalated in Lebanon as the tribunal prepares to announce indictments, which will reportedly include members of Hezbollah, a powerful armed Shiite movement bitterly opposed to the UN inquiry.

"This tribunal must, in the interests of Lebanon as well as the entire region, be allowed to continue working completely independently and in an atmosphere of calm," the French UN mission said in a statement announcing the 1.5 million euro (two million dollar) contribution.

Western countries have sought to signal their support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in recent weeks as it has come under increasing attack from Hezbollah, which has denied any involvement in the 2005 assassination.

The United States last month made a 10 million dollar special contribution to the tribunal. Britain has donated one million pounds (1.5 million dollars).

France said that the latest grant brings its total contribution to the tribunal to 4.5 million euros since the inquiry began in 2007.

"The international community must continue to lend the tribunal its political and financial support," the French statement said.

© 2010 AFP

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