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Bush Condemns Gemayel Assassination


President Bush is calling for a complete investigation into the assassination of Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from Honolulu that Mr. Bush's first comment on events in Lebanon came during a visit to U.S. troops based in Hawaii.

The president said he strongly condemns the murder, and he called on the rest of the world to do the same.

"For the sake of peace, the free world must reject those who undermine young democracies and murder in the name of their hateful ideology," said Mr. Bush.

President Bush said those responsible for the death of Pierre Gemayal embody the vicious face of those who oppose freedom. He stopped short of placing blame, but he did accuse Iran, Syria and their allies of trying to undermine the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Sinora.

Pierre Gemayal was the industry minister in the Sinora cabinet, and a member of a prominent anti-Syrian Christian family.

His murder was the latest in a series of political assassinations in Lebanon that began almost two years ago with the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Harriri.

President Bush made clear the death of Pierre Gemayal should add impetus to U.N. plans to set up a tribunal to investigate the Hariri assassination. He said the U.N. must act now.

"We call on the international community to support Prime Minister Sinora's government and one clear way to do so is for the United Nations Security Council to take all remaining steps needed to establish a special tribunal concerning the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri," said President Bush.

President Bush spoke after having breakfast with U.S. troops stationed in Hawaii. The visit to the American military's Pacific Command headquarters came as he headed home from a trip to Asia that took him to Indonesia, Singapore and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

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