UN Reaffirms Independence of Hariri Tribunal, After Collapse of Lebanon Government

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said to be following the political situation in Lebanon in the wake of the downfall of PM Saad Hariri's government.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was following the political development in Beirut, where the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri was triggered Wednesday by opposition to a UN special tribunal.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the tribunal prosecuting the death of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, father of the current leader, is an independent body and its work must be respected.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Ban met with Saad Hariri this past weekend in New York to discuss the situation in Lebanon and the Hariri prosecution. A readout of the meeting said Ban "reiterated his support for the work of the tribunal, and stressed that it is an independent body."

"He hoped its work would help end impunity in Lebanon," the readout said.

In Beirut, 10 ministers from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and another minister from the neutral camp of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman resigned from the Hariri cabinet in a show of protest against the tribunal.

Hezbollah claims that it is the target of the prosecution and had demanded that Saad Hariri disregard the tribunal's work.