Annan rejects claims that he hampered Hariri probe

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Monday night rejected the accusation of his interference in the UN probe investigating the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Annan asserted that his insistence that Syria cooperate with investigator Detlev Mehlis did not hamper the investigation, but in fact, furthered it along, Israel Radio reported. Upon returning to New York from his visit in Pakistan and in the Middle East, the Sec.-Gen. stated that in all of his meetings with leaders in the Arab world, he urged Syria to cooperate with the probe.