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Russia stands by Hezbollah on Der Spiegel

Posted by seumasach on May 26, 2009

25th May, 2009
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemns as ‘provocative’ a recent report by a German magazine, which attempts to link Hezbollah with Hariri’s death.

In a smear campaign German magazine Der Spiegel published a report on Saturday, claiming that it was informed by ‘a source’ that a special tribunal set up to investigate the Hariri assassination has evidence that Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah had ‘planned and executed’ the incident.

“We consider what was published in Der Spiegel an attempt to politicize matters and we consider all such attempts provocative,” Lavrov said Monday, after meeting with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

The accusations were also denied by Hezbollah, which denounced the report as “a black fabricated campaign adopted by known groups to harm Hezbollah.”

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was killed in a car bomb explosion along with 22 others on February 14, 2005. The attack was at first blamed on elements from Syria, but then Beirut deemed it an inside job and arrested 4 Generals in charge of Hariri’s security.

However, the Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which was set up to investigate the incident, called for their release in April, leaving the race for hunting suspects in the case wide open.

Lavrov further told reporters that Russia supported the STL as long as it was “professional, unbiased, and not politicized.”

Der Spiegel’s accusations against Hezbollah came two weeks before Lebanon’s General Elections, and is largely viewed as an attempt to tarnish the image of the resistance – which is tipped to win a majority of seats.

Unlike Washington, Lavrov said, Moscow respects the outcome of the Lebanese vote and there were no preconditions for bilateral ties with Beirut.

He was referring to the fact that the US and the West have spared no efforts in affecting the outcome of the crucial vote in Lebanon. US Vice-President Joe Biden, who arrived in Beirut earlier in the week, said that the White House would decide on an aid package to the country based on election results.

“The US will evaluate the shape of its assistance program based on the composition of the new government and the policies it is advocating,” he said on Friday.

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