Naharnet

Clinton, Abul Gheit Won't Tolerate Attempts to Undermine STL

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday reiterated Washington's support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, stressing that attempts at weakening the tribunal will not be tolerated.

Clinton said, on her behalf and on behalf of her Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit at a joint news conference in Washington, that they condemn any attempts at obstructing STL's work.

She added that the Lebanese people and the world had the right to enjoy the highest level of judicial impartiality.

According to unconfirmed reports, the STL is set to implicate high-ranking Hizbullah figures in connection with the 2005 murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri.

The reports have sparked the ire of the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Shiite party, which has called for a boycott of the STL and accused the United States of using it as its "last pawn" in Lebanon.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned against any accusations by the STL and said further cooperation with the court would be tantamount to an attack on his powerful group.

Despite Nasrallah's warnings, Prime Minister Saad Hariri has vowed to see the STL through and has received strong support from his Western allies, including the United States and France.

Analysts have warned that the standoff could lead to the collapse of the national unity government and a repeat of the 18-month political deadlock that degenerated into deadly clashes and brought Lebanon close to civil war in May 2008.(Naharnet-AFP)


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