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Annan Condemns Assassination Of Lebanese Minister

Annan Condemns Assassination Of Lebanese Government Minister

New York, Nov 21 2006 2:00PM

Expressing shock after learning of today’s assassination of Lebanon’s Minister of Industry Pierre Gemayel, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged all parties in the troubled country to “maintain national unity at this critical moment.”

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Annan condemned the murder of Mr. Gemayel, “who believed strongly in an independent, democratic and united Lebanon,” and offered his deepest sympathies to the late minister’s family and to the Lebanese Government.

Mr. Gemayel died after being shot in his car while travelling through the capital, Beirut.

Noting that the killing took place a day after the Security Council considered his report on the establishment of a special tribunal to deal with last year’s assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Mr. Annan said in his statement that “such acts of terrorism undermine Lebanon’s stability, are unacceptable and have no place in a democratic and open society.

He added that “the perpetrators and instigators of today’s attack must be brought to justice to ensure an end to impunity.”

The Security Council set up the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) in April 2005 after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own investigation into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the assassination. Its mandate runs until next June.

Serge Brammertz, the head of the IIIC, told the Council in September that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri. The bombing in Beirut also killed 22 others.

The IIIC has been tasked with probing 14 other bombings that have occurred in Lebanon since October 2004, and Mr. Brammertz said evidence points towards his earlier conclusion that many of them were connected.

Ends

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