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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:29, September 07, 2005
Assad not confirm participation in UN summit: official
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A senior Syrian official said Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad has not confirmed his participation in a UN summit later this month.

"We did not receive any official confirmation from the Syrian capital on whether President Assad will head the Syrian delegation to the United Nations Summit that will open on Sept. 14," Syria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Fayssal Mekdad told the state-run Syrian television.

"Syria was showing great interest in this summit, the Syrian delegation in New York was following up political preparations for it," Mekdad said.

Such remarks cast doubt on whether Assad would go. If he did, the visit would have been the first by a Syrian president to New York to take part in a UN gathering.

More than 170 world leaders are expected to attend the summit to approve new approaches to development, security, human rights and UN management in the 21st century.

The US pressure on Damascus again ran up high as a UN investigation team complained that Syria was not fully cooperating with it over a probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February.

Many Lebanese blamed the murder on Syria, but Damascus denied any role in it.

Syria on Saturday invited chief UN investigator Deltlev Mehlis to visit Damascus and reiterated its willingness to cooperate.

Syria has been under US economic sanctions since May 2004, as Washington accuses Damascus of supporting terrorism and seeking unconventional weapons.

Source: Xinhua

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