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U.N. Demands Syria's Cooperation

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls on Syria to cooperate in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria’s nearly three-decades long occupation in Lebanon. He and twenty other people were killed in a February 2005 car bombing in Beirut.

A report prepared for the U.N. Security Council implicated both Lebanese and Syrian high-ranking officials in the murders. The report said Syria failed to cooperate and that several Syrian officials tried to mislead investigators by giving them false or inaccurate information.

The resolution demands that Syria detain any officials or individuals that U.N. investigators suspect of involvement in the Hariri murder and make them available for questioning. It also bans travel for individuals designated as suspects in the assassination and freezes their overseas assets.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.N. Security Council resolution “sends a strong signal to Syria”:

“The resolution tells the Syrians in no uncertain terms, in very strong language, that they should not interfere in Lebanese affairs in any way. . . . .it allows the Council to come back to consider further action should that be necessary; should Syria not comply.”

The resolution, said Ms. Rice, "is the only way to compel the Syrian government to accept the just demands of the United Nations and to cooperate fully with the investigation”:

"With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.”

Secretary of State Rice says Syria needs to make "a strategic decision" to change its behavior. "Until that day comes,” she said, “we in the international community must remain united."

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