Saturday, January 15, 2011

New York, 14 January 2011 - Secretary-General's Press Conference.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, I know that you've been very involved in the last week or so in the issue of Lebanon. You have met with many officials here in New York and you've been on the phone, and you are probably part of this renewed effort in Paris. But my question is quite specific to you. After the opposition brought down the Government of Saad Hariri, the idea seems to be – the issue in their mind seems to be – that a new government will be able to stop the [Special] Tribunal [for Lebanon] by doing three things: pulling out the financing, pulling out the Lebanese judges, and refusing to cooperate with the STL, with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. In this case – you know this Tribunal very well; you know the statute – is that feasible? Would that actually lead to stopping the Tribunal from doing its work, if a new government takes these three actions?

SG: I have stated my position, the position of the United Nations, many times in the past, and it remains the same. As you have already read my statement last week, I had a good meeting with the Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, and I had also a good meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in New York. I have been following very closely the situation. And it is quite regrettable that the Government has not been able to function properly with the pullout of Hezbollah ministers. I call for dialogue among the parties, all the parties, to continue, and for all to respect the Constitution and the law of the country. As far as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is concerned, this is an independent, international judiciary system whose work should never be interrupted or interfered by any parties. I fully respect their integrity, and their integrity should be preserved. That's what I can tell you at this time.

Q: Just very briefly, sir, as far as the statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon – if any government - this government, the next government - decides to take these three actions, stop its part of financing, pull out its own three, I think, judges, and say after the indictment, "I do not want to cooperate with you", would that, de facto, stop the action of the Tribunal? Or is there something in the statute that allows it to go on with its work?

SG: When the Special Tribunal was established by the mandate of the Security Council, clearly, one of the two parties is Lebanon who has to provide the funding. And that's what they did, and another part is the international community – that's what I did to secure funding. And I believe that this responsibility should continue. The Lebanese Government – whoever may be in power – has the responsibility to provide the funding.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Valero: we cling to Tribunal.

14/01/11 NNA - French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bernard Valero reiterated France's encouragement of the Lebanese and institutions' representatives to find a solution to the current crisis through dialogue.
Valero who was speaking during a press conference voiced France's adherence to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and stressed that this Tribunal ought to proceed with its work without hindrances. 

Statement by Minister Cannon on Dissolution of Lebanese Government

(No. 19 – January 13, 2011 – 5:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement concerning the resignation of 11 members of Lebanon's cabinet and the resulting dissolution of the country's government:
"Despite the cabinet resignations announced yesterday, Canada continues to support a strong, independent Lebanon and the leadership of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The people of Lebanon deserve a stable government. These resignations are an attempt to subvert a safe and secure Lebanon and cannot be tolerated.
"We urge the parties involved to work toward a solution in order to address the numerous challenges facing the Lebanese people. We also urge all political factions to exercise restraint at this time of political uncertainty. Hezbollah's actions in bringing down the government are a clear attempt to undermine the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Canada believes that the work of the Special Tribunal should go forward so that justice can be served."

Statement by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly After Meeting with MP Michel Aoun

January 14, 2011
I met with General Aoun this morning.  We had a discussion of recent political developments in Lebanon and the overall situation in the country.
The United States calls on all political factions to remain calm and exercise restraint at this critical time.   We urge all the parties in Lebanon to work together to find a solution for the numerous issues in front of the Lebanese people.   It is now more important than ever that all sides commit to constructive dialogue and avoid escalating tensions in the country.
In light of recent events, it is important to make clear that the United States' commitments to Lebanon have not and will not change.  We will continue to work with Prime Minister Hariri as head of Lebanon's caretaker government on all of the issues of vital importance in the U.S.-Lebanese bilateral relationship.  The United States continues to support the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as the Lebanese people's best hope for putting its tragic and bloody history of political violence behind it.   As the United States and the international community have said from the beginning, the STL is an irrevocable, international judicial process; its work is not a matter of politics but of law.  The resignation of some of Lebanon's ministers will not change this.
Similarly, the United States remains steadfast in its support for Lebanon's state institutions through our robust military, security, and economic development assistance.  The United States provides support to institutions, like the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Internal Security Forces, and numerous civilian ministries, that operate under the constitutional authorities of the Lebanese state.  We believe that our support for these institutions is critical to a sovereign and independent Lebanon.  We expect a new government will emerge through constitutional procedures, and our strong partnership with Lebanon will endure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


New York, Jan 12 2011
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is closely monitoring developments in Lebanon and has emphasized the importance of preserving calm there, his spokesperson said today.

"The Secretary-General further calls for continuing dialogue among all parties and respect for the constitution and the laws of Lebanon," Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the UN chief also reiterates his full support for the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

According to press reports, Lebanon's government of national unity collapsed on Wednesday following the resignation from cabinet of 11 ministers from Hizbollah from and allied groups. Reports claim that the 11 resigned after months of negotiations brokered by Saudi Arabia and Syria failed to produce a compromise over the Special Tribunal, which is examining the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The situation in Lebanon has been marked by rising tensions in recent months, a situation described by the Secretary-General in a report issued in October as a "domestic climate of uncertainty and fragility."

The Special Tribunal is an independent body that was set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon's own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Rafik Hariri and 22 other people was seriously flawed.

Last Sunday, Mr. Ban reiterated his support for the Tribunal's work in a meeting in New York with the slain leader's son and current Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri. During the meeting, Mr. Ban stressed the independence of the Special Tribunal and hoped its work would help end impunity in the country.

Lebanon was also one of the topics the Secretary-General discussed with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in New York on Tuesday. At that meeting, Mr. Ban also expressed his appreciation for Saudi Arabia's efforts to support stability in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, today met with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces at the UN position at the border crossing at Ras Al Naqoura.

They discussed the implementation of resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah, the issue of the village of Ghajar, which straddles the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, and other matters related to the situation along the Blue Line.

Readout of the President's Meeting with Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

President Obama met today with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon.  The President commended the Prime Minister for his steadfast leadership and efforts to reach peace, stability, and consensus in Lebanon under difficult circumstances.  The efforts by the Hizballah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government's ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, implementing all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and continuing a wide-ranging and long-term partnership between the United States and Lebanon.
During their meeting, the President stressed the importance of the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as a means to help end the era of political assassinations with impunity in Lebanon.  The President and Prime Minister specifically discussed united efforts with France, Saudi Arabia, and other key international and regional actors to maintain calm in Lebanon and ensure that the work of the Tribunal continues unimpeded by third parties.  The President and Prime Minister expressed their determination to achieve both stability and justice in Lebanon during this challenging period of government volatility, and agreed that all parties should avoid threats or actions that could cause instability

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Statement by the Press Secretary on President Obama meeting with the Prime Minister of Lebanon

Office of the Press Secretary
Tomorrow, President Obama will meet with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon to discuss U.S. support for Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and stability, the ongoing work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and other regional issues. Lebanon is an important partner in U.S. efforts to promote peace, stability, and justice in the Middle East.


P. Obama: "We'll also finally be discussing Lebanon where I think we are all deeply concerned with the special tribunal there and making sure that justice is appropriately served". 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Readout of the Secretary-General''s meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon

New York, 9 January 2011. The Secretary-General met with the Prime Minister of Lebanon early this evening. They had a cordial and constructive meeting. The Secretary-General commended the Prime Minister for his leadership of Lebanon at a critical time. On the Special Tribunal, the Secretary-General reiterated his support for the work of the Tribunal, and stressed that it is an independent body. He hoped its work would help end impunity in Lebanon. They also discussed regional and other efforts to promote stability. The two discussed a number of aspects of Security Council Resolution 1701, including the need to end Israeli air violations. The Secretary-General stressed the importance of both parties working for the full implementation of the resolution, and the good work being done by UNIFIL. He took note of the Lebanese concerns on the maritime boundary issues.

Other issues under discussion included the Middle East peace process, and the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative in the search for a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.