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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 20:53 GMT
US wants end to Syrian 'bullying'
President Bush (right) and Saad Hariri
Saad Hariri said he wanted justice, not revenge, for his father's death
US President George W Bush has told the son of murdered Lebanese ex-PM Rafik Hariri that he wants to see an end to "Syrian intimidation" in Lebanon.

Mr Bush also told Saad Hariri during a visit to Washington that his father's assassins "need to be held to account".

Saad Hariri led anti-Syrian parties to victory in Lebanese polls held after his father was killed in February 2005.

A UN investigation into the killing has implicated leading Syrian officials - but Damascus denies it was involved.

International pressure and street protests followed the assassination, forcing Syria to withdraw troops it had stationed in Lebanon for more than a decade.

Donors' conference

Mr Bush told Saad Hariri he hoped the investigation into his father's killing would be "full and firm".

"It's very important for the investigation into your dad's death to go forward," he said.

Mr Bush said the two men had discussed their "mutual desire for Lebanon to be free - free of foreign influence, free of Syrian intimidation, free to chart its own course".

The US president also offered his support for a donors' conference to ease Lebanon's debts.

Saad Hariri, he said, was "going to work the world community to try to help organize a conference to help the Lebanese people get going".

Mr Hariri said he hoped efforts to set up a conference would receive a boost after an envoy from the International Monetary Fund visits the region in February.

Regarding the investigation into his father's death, Mr Hariri said: "We are not after revenge.

"In our part of the world revenge is easy to achieve. We want justice."


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