15 February 2005

Secretary-General Condemns Assassination of Former Prime Minister of Lebanon

NEW YORK, 14 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for  Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General has learned with great sadness and shock of the brutal murder in the heart of Beirut today of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon and a number of others.

Mr. Hariri’s death is an immense loss to Lebanon, the region and the international community. He will always be remembered for his dedication to the people of Lebanon, for his success as a statesman and a businessman, for his great achievements in the reconstruction of Lebanon after a long and ugly conflict, and for his courage and directness in public and in private. The Secretary-General sends his deepest condolences to Mr. Hariri’s wife and family, as well as to all the other bereaved families.

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms those who instigated, planned and executed this callous political assassination. Such acts are a reversion to a chapter in Lebanon’s history that he had hoped was long past. It is imperative that the already fragile situation in the region should not be further destabilized.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General urges all Lebanese to exercise utmost restraint, and to use peaceful means in support of their national aspiration to full sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

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