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Syria is Not Cooperating

The government of Syria continues to obstruct a United Nations investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and twenty-two others. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria's occupation of Lebanon and Syrian meddling in Lebanese affairs. In two interim reports, U-N investigators said high-ranking Syrian officials, along with some senior Lebanese intelligence officers, may have been involved in the assassination.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U-N, says Syria is not cooperating with the U-N investigation, headed by Detlev Mehlis:

"Their [the Syrians] lack of cooperation, indeed their affirmative obstruction of the Mehlis [U-N] commission needs a response and we're looking to find exactly what that should be."

U-N resolution fifteen-fifty-nine calls for all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon and supports the extension of the Lebanese Government control over all Lebanese territory. Accordingly, Syria should immediately end its interference in Lebanon.

In December 2005, Gibran Tueni, a member of the Lebanese parliament and publisher of An-Nahar, Beirut's leading newspaper, was killed, the latest victim in a campaign of intimidation aimed at opponents of continued meddling by the Syrian regime in Lebanese affairs. Mr. Tueni had called for an international investigation of mass graves found at a former Syrian intelligence headquarters in Lebanon. Four days before his death, Mr. Tueni charged the Syrian government with "crimes against humanity."

In a written statement, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Syria must comply with all U-N Security Council resolutions. Ms. Rice says the U.S. "calls for the full implementation of all parts of U-N Security Council resolution fifteen-fifty-nine, including the disarmament and disbanding of Hezbollah and other militias. Syria's continuing provision of arms and other support to Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists," said Secretary of State Rice, "serves to destabilize Lebanon, makes possible terrorist attacks within Lebanon, from Lebanese territory, and impedes the full implementation of Security Council resolutions."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "The United States stands firmly with the people of Lebanon in rejecting any deals or compromises that would undermine the [United Nations] investigation, or relieve Syria of its obligations."

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