Russia: Hariri tribunal must be constitutional

The UN-created international tribunal to prosecute the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri must be legal and constitutional, Russia's deputy foreign minister said Sunday. "Moscow's stand is obvious on the necessity of this court to be clean, legally and constitutionally," Alexander Sultanov told reporters in Damascus, following meetings he held with President Bashar Assad. Sultanov, whose country is an ally of Syria, did not elaborate. His comments, however, came a day after Lebanon's US-backed government voted to approve the tribunal, overriding the objections of the pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud and the Syria-backed Hizbullah guerrilla group. Lahoud and Hezbollah consider the vote to be illegitimate because it was held in the absence of six pro-Hizbullah ministers - five Shi'ite Muslim and one Christian - which they consider to be a breach of the constitution.