|Jordan advises all
Lebanese to cooperate with UN probe|
Monday, January 23, 2006
BEIRUT: Jordan's king
advised the visiting Lebanese prime minister on Sunday that
all parties should cooperate with an ongoing UN investigation
into a Beirut assassination last year, the official Petra news
agency reported. King Abdullah II's remarks come as a new head
of the UN commission into the assassination of former Premier
Rafik Hariri began work in Lebanon. Syria, already implicated
in the probe, has been accused of not cooperating.
Abdullah expressed to Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora "his desire to see differences over the
Hariri investigation resolved through negotiations," Petra
He stressed the "importance
of cooperation between all concerned parties with the UN
The probe has implicated
Syrian security officials in Hariri's assassination last
February in Beirut but Damascus has denied any involvement. UN
investigators have pressed to interview Syrian President
Bashar Assad and his foreign minister, Farouk al-Sharaa, but
the president has indicated in a speech made Saturday his
rejection of the requests.
The issue has further
strained relations between Lebanon and Syria, and between
Syria and the West, and a number of Arab leaders have sought
But, Siniora clarified from
Amman that Jordan was not mediating between Syria and Lebanon.
Last week, many Lebanese politicians, notably MP Walid
Jumblatt and MP General Michel Aoun had criticized a Saudi
initiative to defuse tensions between Beirut and Damascus.
The tension between both
countries is also amplified by Lebanon's demand that Syria
demarcate its borders in the
Shebaa Farms, an issue that
was discussed Sunday between Abdullah and Siniora.
Siniora said: "This
demarcation of borders is a national operation and every piece
of Arab land that is liberated from the Israeli occupation is
an Arab victory and Lebanese victory."
He added: "Consequently,
this demarcation operation is nationalistic one because
every inch of the Arab territories liberated from Israeli
occupation is beneficial for the Arabs and for Lebanon."
Siniora was met by
al-Bakhit at Amman's Marka Military Airport and went straight
to talks with the Jordanian monarch.
In his one-day visit,
Siniora is also expected to sign several trade, cultural
and educational agreements to bolster relations between the
At noon, Siniora presided
over the Lebanese delegation in talks with the Jordanian
delegation led by al-Bakhit within the framework of the Joint
Lebanese-Jordanian Higher Committee.
Upon his arrival to the
Prime Minister's headquarters, Siniora was asked about his
meeting with King Abdullah II.
He said: "It was a positive
opportunity to meet with His Royal Highness and we debated a
number of issues pertaining to relations between Lebanon and
the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."
"We also tackled issues
that concern the citizens of Jordan and Lebanon and Arab
issues that concern us in this phase."
Meanwhile, Speaker Nabih
Berri met on Sunday with the new head of the international
investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister
Rafik Hariri, Serge Brammertz.
He also met with Italian
Deputy Foreign Minister Margherita Boniver to discuss the
disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr, who went missing nearly
thirty years ago.
Brammertz later met with
President Emile Lahoud, who said he will provide him with all
necessary assistance to facilitate the work of the committee.
Brammertz said he will
deploy all possible efforts to reveal the truth behind
Hariri's assassination. - The Daily