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Urging Syrian Cooperation

The United States, France, and others are urging the government of Syria to cooperate in the United Nations probe of the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Mr. Hariri and twenty other people died in a February 2005 car bombing in Beirut. A United Nations report implicates Syrian officials in Mr. Hariri's death. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria's nearly three-decade presence in Lebanon.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U-N, says, "This is true confessions time now for the government of Syria":

"No more obstructions, no more half measures. We want substantive cooperation and we want it immediately."

The U-N report was prepared by investigators led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis. The investigators concluded that the bombing that killed Mr. Hariri was conducted with the help of Syrian officials. In a summary statement, Mr. Mehlis wrote, "It would be difficult to envisage a scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried out without their knowledge."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that Syria's "non-cooperation is not going to be tolerated because the Mehlis investigation will continue and that it [Syria] should not even contemplate trying to put pressure or trying to intimidate the Lebanese people":

"We have very important goals now. One is to make very clear to the Syrians that this is really a serious matter, and that their nonchalant attitude about this report, their efforts to discredit the investigator, the things that they have said about it being ridiculous and so forth, are actually not the attitude of the international community. The international community takes this report very seriously, intends for them to comply, and intends for them to cooperate."

The U.S. takes the Mehlis report "very seriously," says President George W. Bush. The government of Syria, he says, "must take the demands of the free world very seriously."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.