As he starts Saudi visit, Chirac warns Syria over Lebanon
Any Syrian attempt to destabilize Lebanon through assassinations or weapons shipments will lead to a harsh response by the international community, French President Jacques Chirac warned Saturday as he starts an historic visit to Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with the pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper, Chirac also urged Damascus to fully cooperate with a UN probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. "Syria must understand that any act that encroaches upon the stability of Lebanon, be it through the shipment of weapons or assassinations, is an act that contradicts with its standing in the international community and will trigger a response from the international community," the French leader said.
Chirac, a close friend of Hariri, said in the interview that the ex-prime minister's murder will not go unpunished. "The truth and justice are necessary for the sake of a new Lebanon," he said.
"Those who are behind the assassinations (in Lebanon) must realize that those who are defending Lebanon's independence are not alone. The international community is with them and it is determined to succeed," Chirac said.