Eight years ago today, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was murdered together with 22 other victims by a car bomb in Beirut. Those who initiated the killing sought to undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and independence. This act of coldblooded mass murder sent shivers throughout the region. I will never forget sitting in Beirut soon after for my meetings held next to a portrait of Hariri shrouded in black. The grief was palpable across a city and nation in mourning and upheaval.
Eight years later, the United States reaffirms that we reject the use of assassination as a political tool by parties within or outside Lebanon, and we stand with the Lebanese people as they seek to make clear once and for all that political assassination and politically motivated violence will no longer be carried out with impunity. We support the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to independently investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the assassination of Hariri and the others killed and injured on that tragic day.
Since the Hariri assassination, too many more of Lebanon's citizens have fallen in targeted killings, including Wissam al-Hasan just four months ago, and still others have been targeted in assassination attempts, including Lebanese Forces Party Leader Dr. Samir Geagea and independent MP Boutros Harb. The killing must end and those responsible must be held accountable.
The United States continues its unwavering support for a stable, sovereign, and independent Lebanon. We encourage all parties to exercise restraint and respect for Lebanon's security and stability, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.