Mehlis: Syria still not cooperating with probe

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December 14, 2005 03:34
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Syria still is not fully cooperating with a probe into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, and investigators would need two more years at this rate, the chief of the inquiry told the UN Security Council. Detlev Mehlis acknowledged on Tuesday that Syria had permitted five high-ranking officials to be interviewed in Vienna, and he later said it was too early to say if Syria was in violation of a Security Council resolution that threatened "further action" unless Syria cooperates. Mehlis' statements apparently did not go far enough to persuade diplomats on the 15-nation council to seek sanctions against Damascus. Instead, the council was considering two Lebanese requests: to widen the probe into former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's death to include other political killings; and to form an international tribunal that would try suspects in his death. The killing of Hariri, a leading anti-Syrian politician, sent shock waves through Lebanon, which has been under Syrian political and military control for decades. His death sparked street protests that prompted the Syrian military to withdraw from Lebanon in April.

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