Kerry condemns killing of pro-western voice in Lebanon car bombing

The Obama administration is condemning what it said was the assassination of Mohamad Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister killed Friday in a Beirut car bombing.

Chatah was known as a staunch critic of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and questions are already being raised about Hezbollah’s possible role in the killing.

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Secretary of State John Kerry called Chatah’s death a terrible loss for Lebanon and the United States. He called the former minister a “voice of reason, responsibility and moderation” and said his presence would be missed.

He said the administration would support Lebanon as its leaders work to bring those responsible for the killing to justice.

No groups have declared responsibility for the killing of Chatah, who once served as his country’s ambassador to the United States.

Hours before the bombing, Chatah had criticized Hezbollah on Twitter, warning the group was pressing for powers in security and foreign policy that were like the ones Syria’s government had when it dominated the country.

Kerry also said Chatah’s killing is a reminder of the need to support the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up by the United Nations, that is seeking to find those accountable for the killing for former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

“These acts only reinforce the strength and resolve of our commitment to support legitimate, unifying security forces in Lebanon, such as the Lebanese Armed Forces,” Kerry said. “It also shows the importance of all parties adhering to the Taif and Baabda agreements and UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1710, and fulfilling their commitments to all of those principles, so that Lebanon maintains its sovereignty and stability.”