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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:00, November 17, 2005
Russia says Syria "actively" cooperating with Hariri probe
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A visiting senior Russian official said on Wednesday that Syria is "actively" cooperating with a UN team in the probe of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"We are comfortable that Syria is actively participating in the implementation of the resolution relevant to the investigation into the assassination of the former premier," secretary of Russia 's Security Council Igor Ivanov told reporters after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Farouk al- Shara.

"We hope that this cooperation by Syria will enable Detlev Mehlis to fulfill his mandate," he said.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1636 on Oct. 31 demanding Syria fully cooperate with the probe or face " further action".

Russia voted in favor of the resolution after a clause threatening to impose economic sanctions on Syria was dropped at the last moment.

According to the official SANA news agency, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara reasserted his country's willingness to cooperate with the inquiry led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis during the meeting.

Shara told Ivanov that Syria would cooperate with the international committee in order to avoid all activities that went against the aim to find the truth of the murder, SANA said.

Mehlis submitted an interim report to the United Nations on Oct. 20 which implicated Syrian security and intelligence officials in the killing of Hariri in a massive car bomb blast in February in Beirut.

Syria denied the allegation and criticized it as politically motivated, but it promised to cooperate with the probe.

Mehlis requested to question six Syrian officers, reportedly including Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat, in his headquarters in Beirut, which was refused by Damascus.

Syria proposed to carry out the interrogation either in a third country such as the Egyptian capital of Cairo or in the UN offices in Damascus, which Mehlis did not agree.

Source: Xinhua

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