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Lebanon's prime minister says he will back tribunal

By the CNN Wire Staff
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said that he will support the U.N. tribunal.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said that he will support the U.N. tribunal.
  • NEW: Interpol issued alerts in connection with the 2005 killing of Rafik Hariri
  • Najib Mikati says government will support tribunal investigating Hariri's death
  • "Whatever we can do from our side," Mikati tells CNN, "we are going to do it fully"

(CNN) -- Lebanon's prime minister said Monday his government will support the U.N. special tribunal that is investigating the 2005 killing of a previous Lebanese prime minister.

"Whatever we can do from our side," Najib Mikati told CNN, "we are going to do it fully."

The tribunal -- established by the United Nations at Lebanon's request in 2005, after the death of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri -- called last week on Interpol to circulate a request for police agencies worldwide to detain the suspects. But it has not publicly said how many people were indicted or revealed their identities.

Interpol, the international police agency, issued wanted persons alerts last week in connection with the killing of Hariri and 22 others.

Read the interview on CNN Arabic

The move came after a Special Tribunal for Lebanon judge issued arrest warrants for the suspects.

The indictment named four people, all members of the Shiite group Hezbollah, a highly placed source in the Lebanese Army has told CNN. The source identified them as Mustafa Badreddine, Hasan Oneisa, Salim Ayyah and Asad Sabra.

Hariri, a wealthy entrepreneur turned politician, died when his motorcade passed a bomb that exploded in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

Supporters say he was killed because of his opposition to Syrian influence in Lebanon. His death prompted mass protests that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops who had been in Lebanon for nearly 30 years.

Hezbollah has ties to Syria as well as to Iran. It provides social services in Lebanon, but has long been regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has said he believes Israel was behind Hariri's death and has accused the tribunal of being a tool of the United Nations and the United States with a goal of creating strife within Lebanon.

Mikati said the Lebanese government would hand over the suspects "if they are in Lebanon." He rejected suggestions that Hezbollah allies would prevent him from cooperating with the tribunal.

Though some may perceive him to be in a difficult position, his overriding goal is to serve the interests of his country, he said, adding, "And I'm going to do it fully."

Asked about the current crisis in neighboring Syria, where mass demonstrations have been met by violent crackdowns, Mikati called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to introduce the necessary reforms.

"I wish that President Assad can do the reform himself," he said. "I wish the peace and good for the Syrian citizen and the Syrian regime."