Friday, October 21, 2005

U.N. Harriri Killing report: First reactions

What were those Syrian officials involved in planning Rafik Hariri's murder really thinking? That they would carry out such a high-profile assassination in broad daylight and get away with it? Well, they have got another think coming . Take a look at the following reactions to find out why:

  • Syria rejects accusations in Hariri probe-AP:

Syria hotly dismissed on Friday a U.N. report that linked embattled President Bashar Assad's government in the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, as Damascus geared up to fight off growing Western sentiment to punish it with crippling economic sanctions.

While the U.N. findings did not directly incriminate Assad, the report cited a witness who claimed that Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law and the Syrian military intelligence chief, forced a man to tape a claim of responsibility for Hariri's killing 15 days before it occurred. It also said Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa lied in a letter to the investigating commission...

  • Rice: Syria must be held accountable-AP
The international community must find a way to hold Syrian authorities accountable for the death of a leading Lebanese reformer, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.
Rice declined to discuss the next steps, beyond saying that some kind of international mechanism must be established to ensure that Syria is held accountable. She said she was deeply troubled by a U.N. report implicating Syria in the killing last February of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri...

  • John Bolton: UN report on Hariri hard-hitting on Syria-Reuters
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said on Friday that a U.N. inquiry into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri had presented hard-hitting findings on Syrian involvement in the killing.

Bolton was consulting with fellow Security Council members on a wide range of possible responses, he said, but he would not say whether sanctions against Syria was among them...

  • Israelis call for regime change in Syria-UPS

Prominent Israeli officials called Friday for the toppling of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The calls came following the publication of a United Nations report charging that high level Syrian officials were involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and a key political ally of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for regime change in Damascus...

Also:

  • Death of Syrian minister raises questions-AP
The death of a powerful Syrian government minister just days before the release of a U.N. report on the assassination of Lebanon's former leader is fueling speculation of turmoil in the authoritarian regime in Damascus.

Arab analysts say the gunshot death of Interior Minister Ghazi Kenaan at his office Wednesday does not threaten Syrian President Bashir Assad's government, but they call it another sign of the regime's weakness — something that could create pressure for reforms.

Discounting an official Syrian report blaming suicide, some people suspect Kenaan was slain to cover up high-level Syrian involvement in the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafi Hariri. Syria denied any role, but Hariri's killing set off huge anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon that forced the withdrawal of Syrian troops after a 29-year occupation...