Lahoud denies he provoked al-Assad against Hariri
Lebanon-Syria, Politics, 1/2/2006
Reactions to the political bomb launched by the Syrian vice president from Paris continued. The Lebanese President Emil Lahoud on Sunday rejected what was stated by Syria's former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam on that President Bashar al-Assad had threatened Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri prior to being assassinated.
A statement by the Lebanese presidency said that "Khaddam claimed that President Lahoud launched several media campaigns to incite against Hariri, and (that these campaigns) influenced President al-Assad greatly," noting that "facts indicate that Lahoud has no mass media that he can use to provoke against the martyr President." The statement added that the President of The Republic "is not in need of such methods, which the Lebanese politicians know who used to do it."
Khaddam had indicated in an interview with al-Arabiya satellite TV that Lahoud and his security forces were the strongest inciters of al-Assad against al-Hariri, noting in the context stances criticizing the regime, that al-Assad had repeatedly criticized Hariri whenever he did not obey the Syrian instructions.
The statement of President Lahoud came under differences of positions among the Lebanese concerning Khaddam's split and statements. While the government committed to silence and preferred to be calm in its reaction, forces from inside and outside the government considered it as a evidence for the UN investigation in the assassination crime of Hariri.
The leader of the Socialist progressive party, parliamentarian Walid Junblat defended what he considered the nationalism and the Syrian identity of Khaddam and commended his stances towards Lebanon and its role in enhancing national solidarity and his distinguished relations with Hariri.
Junblat considered that what was stated by Khaddam proves the credibility of the UN investigation in the probe, demanding the pro- Syrian Lebanese parties to work for deploring what he considered the "Syrian terrorism."
For his part, the leader of the free national trend Michael Aawn considered the statements by the former Syrian vice president as a testimony for the UN investigation regarding the assassination of al-Hariri.
In statements to the BBC, Aawn called on Khaddam to keep his memory open and not to be selective to only a specific incident and also to talk about other acts of assassination that took place in Lebanon while he was in charge of the Lebanese file, noting in particular to the assassination of the two Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel and Rene Muaawad and to the country's Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khaled.
BBC profile: Abdul Halim Khaddam indicate disagreement inside Syrian leadership
Baath leadership expels Khaddam for his remarks
Al-Arabia: Syrian Vice President denounces government: al-Assad threatened Hariri before his assassination
Junblat accuses Syria of instigating militia attack on Israel
Berri: Pressure on Syria, Lebanon are not new
Al-Assad: The Baath party does not own the country
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