Obama backs UN Hariri tribunal

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Obama backs UN Hariri tribunal

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President Barack Obama has reaffirmed US support for a United Nations tribunal to try suspects for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Lebanon is marking the fourth anniversary of his death with a mass rally. Hariri and 22 other people died in a car bomb explosion in Beirut on February 14 in 2005. Hariri’s killing unleashed a wave of assassinations and bombings that eventually brought the country to the brink of a civil war and forced the withdrawal of Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon. Saad Hariri, son of the murdered prime minister, told the crowd: “Today we are again meeting in Liberty Square to say to Rafik Hariri and all those who died fighting for freedom, that international justice is now close.” Some Lebanese politicians believe Syria was behind the attack, a claim Damascus vehemently denies. The UN probe and tribunal remain sensitive issues but Hariri’s supporters want to see justice done. A UN report claims to have discovered fresh clues to where the suicide bomber responsible for Hariri’s death came from. Investigators say a likely motive for the killing was Hariri’s support for a UN resolution demanding the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. In a statement from the White House, Barack Obama said the United States “shared grief” over Hariri’s death adding that the US fully supports a UN tribunal to bring those responsible to justice.