Thursday, February 14, 2008

Secretary Rice on Anniversary of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's Assassination

Anniversary of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's Assassination

Statement by Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
February 14, 2008

Three years ago today, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was brutally assassinated in a massive bombing in downtown Beirut. One month later, on March 14, 2005, the Lebanese people took to the streets to demand Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon. In many ways, this marked a second independence for Lebanon. Ever since the "Cedar Revolution," the United States has stood in solidarity with the Lebanese people, echoing their calls for peace, justice, and freedom from foreign domination.

In response to these calls, the United Nations adopted Security Council resolution 1757 on May 30, 2007, bringing the Agreement to establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon into force. The Special Tribunal will try those responsible for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. We hope the Tribunal will help deter further political assassinations, end an era of fear for Lebanese citizens and impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes, and help protect the sovereignty of Lebanon. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission continues its investigations into the deaths of Mr. Hariri and numerous other journalists, parliamentarians, government ministers, and security officials who shared his dream of a strong and sovereign Lebanon.

To demonstrate our commitment to promote justice in Lebanon, I am pleased to announce that the United States intends to double its pledge to the Tribunal's year one budget from $7 million to $14 million, subject to the necessary congressional notification procedures. As UN Secretary General Ban noted yesterday, the UN has reached decisive landmarks in establishing the Tribunal, which will soon be fully functional.

Lebanon, on this day of remembrance for former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and all those killed, injured, or persecuted in the service of the Lebanese nation, the United States shares your sorrow, but also your hope. Our commitment to you and your chosen government is unshakeable. We and the international community will not rest until your calls for peace, justice, and freedom have been answered.

Released on February 14, 2008