Chirac calls for cooperation in UN Hariri probe

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 26 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac Wednesday urged the entire international community, and especially Syria, to cooperate in the investigation into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

PARIS, Oct 26 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac Wednesday urged the entire international community, and especially Syria, to cooperate in the investigation into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

"(President) Chirac stressed the importance France attaches to justice being done," said spokesman Jerome Bonnafont following talks here between the president and Saad Hariri, son of the slain Lebanese leader.

He said Chirac had also paid to tribute to the professionalism and impartiality shown by the Mehlis commission investigating last February's killing.

A final report on the investigation led by German judge Detlev Mehlis is due in mid-December. A preliminary report has already implicated Syrian officials in Hariri's murder.

Saad Hariri told journalists after the meeting he favoured setting up an international tribunal to try his father's killers.

He said he was against sanctions being imposed on Syria, despite the suspicions of the international investigators of a role played by Syrian agents.

During their meeting, Chirac had noted that France had proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution through which the international community could register its "support for Lebanon and desire for all parties, especially Syria, to cooperate unreservedly with the Mehlis mission," said Bonnafont.

The Mehlis commission suspects senior Syrian state security officials of having organised the killing in coordination with former Lebanese security agents.

"I believe an international tribunal is important," Saad Hariri said after meeting Chirac.

"I am not in favour of sanctions against Syria...we are friends of Syria, of the Syrian people. Lebanon and Syria have a long historic friendship."

"We're heading in the right direction and we have to continue down that path to find out who decided, committed and financed the crime."

In New York, Washington, London and Paris vied Wednesday to rally other UN Security Council members behind their efforts to gain a resolution backing likely sanctions against Syria after Damascus was implicated in the killing of the former Lebanese prime minister.

A draft United Nations Security Council resolution, circulated since late Tuesday among council members, demanded that Syria cooperate fully with an international investigation into the assassination.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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