Manama: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted that the UN Special Tribunal probing the 2005 murder of ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri did not pose a threat to Lebanon`s stability.
"The Special Tribunal represents a statement by the world that the era of political assassination with impunity in Lebanon must end," Hillary said at a major security conference in Manama yesterday.
"To those who claim that the tribunal will destabilise Lebanon, I would answer: justice is not a threat to Lebanon`s stability. The attempts to subvert justice by undermining the tribunal are the threat."
Her remarks come amid high tensions in Lebanon over impending indictments by the UN-backed probe into the Hariri assassination.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is reportedly set to implicate senior members of the Shi`ite militant group Hezbollah in the assassination, a move the party has repeatedly warned against.
Questioned by the US Arabic-language satellite television Al-Hurra on Saudi and Syrian efforts to defuse the tension, Hillary said Washington appreciated such diplomatic efforts but the STL must still complete its task.
She called on all parties to avoid military escalation despite their opposition to the UN-backed tribunal, in apparent reference to the powerful Hezbollah militia.
On Syria, Hillary said Washington wanted a constructive relationship with Damascus and an end to any Syrian support for terrorism, efforts to destabilise its neighbour Lebanon, or the supply of arms to Hezbollah.