The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, and Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT have learned with great sadness and shock of the brutal murder in the heart of Beirut on Monday of the former Prime Minister, Mr. Rafic Hariri of Lebanon, and a number of others in a powerful bomb blast.
“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms those who instigated, planned and executed this callous political assassination. Such acts are a reversion to a chapter in Lebanon's history that he had hoped was long past. It is imperative that the already fragile situation in the region should not be further destabilized,” a UN spokesman said.
Mr. Hariri, who ceremonially opened UN-HABITAT's Second World Urban Forum in Barcelona last September, was awarded a Special Citation on the 2004 Habitat Scroll of Honour for his work in the post-conflict reconstruction of his country. “He has provided leadership in achieving impressive results in planning, project design and implementation and fund raising,” Mrs. Tibaijuka said citing his drive to uplift and renovate the capital Beirut, and the country after a 15-year civil way that ended in 1990. “An on-going programme, also inspired by Prime Minister Hariri, has included the restoration of the city’s electricity power system, a new telephone network, new roads, hospitals and clinics.”
His death is an immense loss to Lebanon, the region, UN-HABITAT and the international community. He will always be remembered for his dedication to the people of Lebanon, for his success as a statesman and a businessman, for his great achievements in the reconstruction of Lebanon after a long and ugly conflict, and for his courage and directness in public and in private. Mrs. Tibaijuka joins the Secretary-General in sending her deepest condolences to Mr. Hariri's wife and family, as well as to all the other bereaved families.