Lebanon's Minister of Tourism, Mr.
CU Mr. Marwan Hamadeh speaking in English.
TRANSCRIPT: HAMADEH: "Like you we have been shocked, profoundly shocked, and stunned by the awful crime which the Algerian diplomat was victim of not late than yesterday. This is the last in a series of crimes that have been hitting at many diplomatic missions in Lebanon. The French ambassador was killed, the Iraqi embassy was destroyed and now the Algerian ambassador. (SIC COUNSELLOR) This wave of crimes has reached really an unacceptable level. This time it is a diplomat of a very, very friendly country, a country which has always had in the Arab world a particular position. A country which has always helped Lebanon in trying to solve its problems. We are trying with the local security authorities, and with all the responsible people in the (INDISTINCT) political parties, to prevent any acts of this sort in order to preserve Lebanon's particular position as a diplomatic and negotiating centre in the Middle East."
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Background: Lebanon's Minister of Tourism, Mr. Marwan Hamadeh, was strongly condemned the repeated attacks on Beirut's diplomatic community. He was speaking on Thursday (14 January) the day after the assassination of Algerian embassy counsellor Rabeh Kharma. Mr. Kharma was shot once in the head after being kidnapped in the Lebanese capital. The Minister said his country enjoyed very good relations with Algeria and that greater efforts should be made by the Syrian peace-keeping force in Lebanon to prevent further attacks on diplomatic missions and their staff. Three ambassadors and several other diplomats have been killed in the country in the last six years. Last September, the French ambassador was shot dead and then the Iraqi ambassador was killed with at least 60 others in the December 15 embassy explosion.