Security Council calls for cooperation with probe of Lebanese ex-Premier murder

Kofi Annan (R) with Detlev Mehlis (file photo)

25 August 2005 – Underlining its support for the United Nations commission investigating the assassination last February of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Security Council today reiterated its call for all States and all parties, especially those which have yet to respond adequately, to provide any information that can help solve the crime.

In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, of Japan, which holds the Council's rotating presidency for August, Council members expressed satisfaction that the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) had "significantly advanced" the course of its probe.

The statement added that greater cooperation would help expedite the work of the Commission, which was set up to find out who was behind the bomb attack in Beirut which killed Mr. Hariri and 20 others, and ultimately led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from its smaller neighbour.

Earlier, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari briefed the Council on the Commission's work. He later told reporters that more than 200 witnesses had been interviewed so far.

The Commission, headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis and established by the Council on 7 April, became operational on 16 June. An initial UN fact-finding mission found Lebanon's own probe seriously flawed and declared Syria, with its troop presence, primarily responsible for the political tension preceding the assassination.

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