HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, February 14, 2005

UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION
OF FORMER LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan 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.
     
  • Asked what the statement’s reference to a “reversion” to Lebanon’s past meant, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General hopes that there will be no return to the violence, destruction and death that took place during the Lebanese civil war. The Spokesman added that this is a warning signal, and the Secretary-General urges the Lebanese to pull back, think hard and not return to the days of the civil war.
     
  • Following Security Council consultations, the Security Council President spoke to the press, saying that Council members also condemned the assassination in Lebanon.

  Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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