1. Pan from traffic to United Nations (UN) building
May 15, 2007
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General:
"I'm of the view that while we, after having exhausted all diplomatic efforts by the United Nations including myself and having received an official request from government of Lebanon, asking the Security Council to take necessary actions, I think it is necessary for the Security Council to take necessary actions."
3. Reporters outside Security Council
May 15, 2007
4. SOUNDBITE: (English): Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General:
"Even at this time, I would hope and urge Lebanese government and people to agree themselves on national consensus to establish the special tribunal in accordance with the decision of the Security Council. It is absolutely necessary to send our strong message that there should be no impunity for perpetrators who committed crimes and particularly for political assassinations."
5. Mid shot photographers outside Security Council
May 15, 2007
6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to the UN:
"We understand that there are some risks, some say, with regard to taking action, but we believe that the risks of not taking action are greater and therefore for reasons of justice, for reasons of long-term stability of Lebanon, and the fact that the Lebanese have requested our help, we need to move and move expeditiously."
The United States said on Tuesday it plans to introduce a resolution possibly later this week to have the United Nations establish an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The Security Council will be taking action following a formal request from Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon asking that the tribunal be established.
US Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said they could not let the the Lebanese down.
"We understand that there are some risks, some say, with regard to taking action, but we believe that the risks of not taking action are greater and therefore for reasons of justice, for reasons of long-term stability of Lebanon, and the fact that the Lebanese have requested our help, we need to move and move expeditiously," Khalilzad said.
Ban, who discussed Saniora's request over lunch with council members, told reporters afterward that the Security Council should create the tribunal - but at the same time he urged the Lebanese parties to try again to reach agreement on the tribunal which would be the best solution.
Ban said that "after having exhausted all diplomatic efforts" now was the time "to take necessary actions."
In the letter, Saniora cited Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's refusal to convene a session of parliament to formally ratify the statutes of the tribunal and the bilateral agreement with the United Nations.
He stressed the support of the majority of parliamentarians for the tribunal.
"In light of the above, the Lebanese government believes that the time has come for the Security Council to help make the special tribunal for Lebanon a reality," Saniora said in the letter.
The Secretary General said although it would have been preferable for the Lebanese government to handle the investigation internally, it is still necessary to "send our strong message that there should be no impunity for perpetrators who committed crimes."
The issue of an international tribunal that would try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of Hariri and 22 others has sharply polarised Lebanon.
It is at the core of a deep political crisis between the government and opposition groups, a conflict that has taken on an increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people in recent months.
A Security Council decision to create a tribunal is bound to further deepen the power struggle between the Western-backed government and Hezbollah-led opposition.