Pressure mounts over Hariri’s death

The UN Security Council has met to discuss a UN report on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The interim report implicated high ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials in his death and that of 20 others in a car bomb in February.

The UN meeting was expected to hear calls for action against Syria. Syria and Lebanon have denied any involvement in the plot, saying the charges are politically motivated.

The report says the likely motive for Hariri’s assassination was political – the former prime minister was increasingly at odds with pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud at a time when Syria was the main power in Lebanon. International pressure after his death led to Syria withdrawing its forces from the country.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied in the Syrian capital on Monday to support the government. However, Damascus has been increasingly at odds with the international community – in particular, the US – over the issues of insurgents crossing into Iraq, alleged support for Palestinian militant groups and interference in Lebanon.