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Erdogan opposes politicisation of Hariri probe

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan rejects any politicisation of the tribunal's work

AFP, Monday 20 Dec 2010
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he opposes any politicisation of the work of a UN tribunal probing ex-Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri's murder, in an interview published on Monday.

"The process of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon must not be politicised," the official Syrian news agency SANA quoted Erdogan as saying.

Lebanon is on tenterhooks as it awaits indictments by the STL for the 2005 murder of Hariri and 22 others. The tribunal said on December 9 that it would issue the indictments "very, very soon."

The STL is reportedly set to indict high-ranking operatives of Shiite group Hezbollah, Lebanon's most powerful military force, which accuses the court of serving Israel and of having based its findings on false testimony.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, has said it expects to be falsely accused of involvement and warned against any attempt to arrest its members, raising fears of instability in Lebanon.

Erdogan called for support of diplomatic efforts by Saudi Arabia and Syria to calm tensions in Lebanon, SANA reported.

"Turkey supports the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon, attaches extreme importance to stability in that country and therefore supports the government of national unity led by (Prime Minister) Saad Hariri," he said.

"Maintaining stability in Lebanon is very important for the region, " the Turkish premier said.

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