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U.N. Extends Hariri Probe


The United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution to extend the investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Co-sponsored by France, Britain, and the United States, the resolution demands that Syria cooperate with the investigating commission. The resolution also responds directly to the request from the Lebanese government to expand the investigation to include other assassination attempts.

Approval of the resolution came days after the commission issued a report saying new evidence reinforced the conclusion that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials were involved in the Hariri murder. In October, commission head Detlev Mehlis revealed that he had collected evidence connecting senior figures in the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including the president's brother and brother-in-law, to the Hariri murder.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said the U-N Security Council resolution sends a "strong signal" to Syria. The resolution authorizes the U-N investigating commission to provide assistance to Lebanese authorities investigating a string of assassinations of anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon since October 2004. The killings include the recent murder of parliamentarian and publisher Gibran Tueni.

The resolution also asks that the U-N Secretary General present recommendations to expand the mandate of the investigating commission to include investigations of these other attacks. U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack says there have been sixteen assassinations, attempted murders, and bombings in Lebanon since October 2004:

"Clearly, there's a pattern. Clearly, there are individuals, groups, who are interested in disrupting Lebanon's progress towards a more stable, peaceful, democratic future in the wake of the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon."

The U-N Security Council resolution, said Mr. McCormack, "keeps the spotlight" on Syria and its failure to cooperate with the probe into former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's murder. Those responsible for his and other deaths in Lebanon should be brought to justice.

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

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