BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Lebanese government on Monday approved a U.N. draft setting up an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"We unanimously approved the draft," Prime Minister Fuad Saniora told a news conference after a three-hour meeting.
"We tell the criminals that we will not give up our rights, no matter what the difficulties and obstacles are," he said. "Our only aim is to achieve justice and only justice. Without it and without knowing the truth, the Lebanese will not rest and we cannot protect our democratic system and political freedom now and in the future."
Saniora, whose anti-Syrian majority dominates the Cabinet, convened the session Monday over the president's objections and despite resignations of six pro-Syrian ministers, five of them Shiite Muslim who quit in a dispute with the prime minister.
The resignations cast a shadow over the decision because Shiites were not represented in the Cabinet as required by Lebanon's delicate distribution of political power among its Christian and Muslim sects.
Hariri and 22 others were killed when a massive suicide truck bomb ripped through his convoy on Feb. 14, 2005, in central Beirut.
He was an opponent of Syria's three-decade dominance of Lebanon and his supporters blamed Damascus for his death. Syria has denied any role, but the killing provoked such an international outcry that Syria ultimately withdrew its thousands of troops from Lebanon in April 2005.