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Lebanon Request to Broaden Hariri Murder Probe

Lebanon Request to Broaden Hariri Murder Probe Will Go to Security Council, Annan Says

New York, Dec 13 2005 2:00PM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan told journalists in New York today that he has discussed with Lebanon’s leaders the possibility of expanding the United Nations independent investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to include other murders, and that the Security Council would have to take a decision on the matter.

“That it is an issue that the Council should take up,” he told journalists in response to questions.

Mr. Annan confirmed that on Monday he had discussed with Lebanon’s current Prime Minister the possibility of expanding the mandate of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC).

“It is an issue that we should allow the Council to deliberate, to discuss carefully, and to decide what decision to take, whether it wants it to take on the six previous assassinations, including the one of yesterday, in addition to Hariri’s or draw the line somewhere,” he said, referring to Monday’s fatal attack against politician and journalist Gibran Tueni.

“I would urge the Lebanese to go ahead with the management of their affairs, to take charge of their own state and sovereignty, and to remain united as they work for the future of Lebanon,” he added.

UNIIIC head Detlev Mehlis has recommended a six-month extension of the Commission’s mandate while indicating that he would not be available to lead it. The Secretary-General today said he was working as quickly as possible to find a replacement.

“I hope, if all goes well, that I should be able to name someone in the next week or two,” he said. “In the meantime, I’ve taken measures to ensure that we don’t have a break and there’s continuity in the work of the Commission until a successor assumes his or her responsibilities.”


ENDS

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