UNSC, Bush condemn Beirut attack

Walid Eido, anti-Syrian parliamentarian, his son and 9 others killed in blast.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
There is a direct line linking assassinations in Lebanon and actions intended to topple the Lebanese government and the involvement of (Bashar) Assad's regime, US Presidnet George W. Bush was quoted by Israel Radio as saying Wednesday overnight. The UN Security Council unequivocally condemned the attack that killed a Lebanese parliament member and nine other people in Beirut and reiterated its support for the government's efforts to combat terrorism and solidify democracy. Walid Eido, the slain lawmaker, was a vocal anti-Syrian legislator. Lebanon's majority coalition accused Damascus of carrying out the attack in response to the Security Council's establishment earlier this week of a tribunal to try suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. The first UN chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis, has said the complexity of Hariri's assassination suggested Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services played a role. Syria has denied any involvement in the bombing, and has said it will not deal with an international tribunal. Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said his government was carefully studying Wednesday's bombing, but that "our first assesssment" is that it was a move aimed at influencing the report of a UN mission assessing security on the Lebanon-Syria border. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon authorized the mission following reports of weapons smuggling from Syria. It is expected to report soon to the Security Council. "This is why we think that these criminal hands have one objective, which is to target the Lebanese-Syrian relationship" and try to prevent efforts to improve it, Ja'afari told The Associated Press. The statement adopted by the Security Council and read at a formal meeting did not point the finger at any country. But it said "the Security Council condemns any attempt to destabilize Lebanon, including through political assassination or other terrorist acts." Eido was the seventh prominent anti-Syrian figure in Lebanon to be killed in a little over two years. Wednesday's attack ripped through Eido's car, killing him, his 35-year-old son, two bodyguards and six passers-by, according to officials. "The Security Council unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack on Beirut on June 13, 2007 which killed at least nine persons, including Member of Parliament Walid Eido, and injured several others," the statement said. "The Security Council commends the determination and commitment of the government of Lebanon to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of this and other assassinations and underlines its determination to support the government of Lebanon in its efforts to this end," it said. The issue of an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for Hariri's assassination has fueled a deep political conflict between Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's Western-backed government and the Syrian-backed, Hizbullah-led opposition. The conflict has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people in recent months. In addition, fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah Islam militants holed up inside the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli has continued, sometimes sporadically, since May 20. Most of the camp's 31,000 residents have fled. The Security Council called on "all parties in Lebanon and the region to show restraint and a sense of responsibility with a view to preventing any further deterioration of the situation in Lebanon." The council also reiterated "its full support to the ongoing efforts by the government and people of Lebanon to combat terrorism, solidify democracy and institutions through national dialogue, and extend the authority of the Lebanese government throughout its territory."