US accuses Syria of "flagrant disregard" for Lebanese sovereignty
Syria has demonstrated a "flagrant disregard" for Lebanese sovereignty by arming Hezbollah militants and inciting sectarian tension to undermine democracy in the country, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Thursday, dpa reported.
Syria as well as Iran and Hezbollah have stoked tension in order to exercise control over Lebanon by destabilizing its government and the region, Rice said.
"Syria, especially, has displayed flagrant disregard for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Lebanese government," Rice said.
Rice's comments come over concerns of rising tension in Lebanon ahead of reported plans of an international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri to indict members of Hezbollah.
"We continue to have deep concerns about Hezbollah's destructive and destabilizing influence in the region, as well as the attempts by other foreign players, including Syria and Iran, to undermine Lebanon's independence and endanger its stability," she said.
Rice accused Syria of providing "increasingly sophisticated weapons" to Lebanese militias, including Hezbollah, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Hariri was riding in a motorcade when he was killed by a car bomb in February 2005, prompting international outrage and suspicions that Syria was complicit in the attack. Syria has rejected the accusations.
Two investigators affiliated with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing the assassination were assaulted Wednesday, raising concerns of potentially violent retributions and political instability.