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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Gemayel reaction: 'The hands of Syria are all over the place'
Times Online and agencies
World leaders reacted swiftly this afternoon to condemn the assassination of the Lebanese Industry Minister, Pierre Gemayel, a critic of Syria who was shot in his car on the outskirts of Beirut:
Saad Hariri, the son of the murdered Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, and leader of the anti-Syrian majority in the Lebanese parliament, to CNN: "The cedar revolution is under attack... Today one of our main believers in a free democratic Lebanon has been killed. We believe the hands of Syria are all over the place. The people of Lebanon will not give up on the international tribunal (seeking prosecution of those who killed Hariri). This will make them even more determined. We will bring justice to those who killed Pierre Gemayel."
Nicholas Burns, US Under-Secretary of State: "This is a very sad day for Lebanon. We were shocked by this assassination. We view it as an act of terrorism and we also view it as an act of intimidation. We think it is very, very important that those who would divide Lebanon and use violence to destabilize the political situation not be able to succeed. We will give full support to the Siniora government in the days and weeks ahead, to support that government, to support its continuation."
Sana, official Syrian news agency: "Syria strongly condemns the killing. This is a crime aimed at destabilising Lebanon. Syria is careful about preserving Lebanon’s security, unity and civil peace."
Jacques Chirac, French President: "The President of the Republic learned with horror and dismay of the murder of Mr Pierre Gemayel, the Lebanese Industry Minister. In the name of France, he condemns this heinous attack most strongly and expresses the wish that the assassins should be pursued and punished. (France) stands alongside Lebanon in support of the full implementation of the Security Council resolutions, notably for the creation of an international court."
Javier Solana, EU Foreign Policy Chief: "Those responsible for this cowardly attack from another age must be found and tried. Lebanon has yet again paid dearly for wanting to live peacefully and independently."
Ahmed Melli, member of Hezbollah: "We strongly condemn and denounce this killing. It was carried out by those forces who want to harm the future of Lebanon."
Tzipi Livni, Israeli Foreign Minister: "The negative role of Syria in Lebanon is not something new or top secret and only a few weeks ago the international community succeeded in taking Syrian forces and Syria out of Lebanon. But clearly they are trying to be involved even now, but it’s too early to say something more concrete.
Margaret Beckett, British Foreign Secretary: "We condemn it. We are dismayed. There are enough problems in Lebanon already and we hope very much that whatever lies behind this, that it is a one off. All I would simply to say whoever is behind it is that it is absolutely against the interests of every single person in the region to have maintenance of tension to have an increase in tension. This is deeply damaging and cannot be of help and assistance to anyone.
King Abdullah of Jordan: "We strongly condemn this ugly crime. This is a cowardly act that targets the security and stability of Lebanon. The Lebanese have to unify their ranks at this phase and not allow the preachers of death, disunity and destruction to succeed in creating a split in the cohesion of the Lebanese people."
Ali Hasan Khalil, Lebanese MP and member of pro-Syrian Amal faction: "This is a crime against Lebanon, all of Lebanon. This is a crime that we condemn... It represents a form of terrorism. Away from narrow political calculations ... I urge his (Gemayel’s) allies to apply self-restraint. This represents a warning to all parties in Lebanon that there are hands that do not want Lebanon’s interest."