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14 February 2005

Bush "Shocked and Angered" by Hariri Assassination

United States will seek to punish those responsible

President Bush was “shocked and angered” by the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri February 14.  Hariri and at least nine others were killed when the former prime minister’s motorcade was the target of a bomb attack in central Beirut.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan characterized Hariri as “a fervent supporter of Lebanese independence” and said his death “is an attempt to stifle these efforts to build an independent, sovereign Lebanon free of foreign domination.”

According to a White House statement, the United States will consult with governments in the region and the U.N. Security Council about how to punish those responsible for Hariri’s murder and restore Lebanon’s independence from violence, political intimidation and foreign occupation.

Following is the text of the White House statement:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 14, 2005

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

The President was shocked and angered to learn of the terrorist attack in Beirut today that murdered former Prime Minister Hariri and killed and injured several others.  Mr. Hariri was a fervent supporter of Lebanese independence, and worked tirelessly to rebuild a free, independent, and prosperous Lebanon following its brutal civil war and despite its continued foreign occupation.  His murder is an attempt to stifle these efforts to build an independent, sovereign Lebanon free of foreign domination.  The people of Lebanon deserve the freedom to choose their leaders free of intimidation, terror, and foreign occupation, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1559.  The United States will consult with other governments in the region and on the Security Council today about measures that can be taken to punish those responsible for this terrorist attack, to end the use of violence and intimidation against the Lebanese people, and to restore Lebanon's independence, sovereignty, and democracy by freeing it from foreign occupation.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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