Syria wants review of next UN report

Syria has said it wants an independent authority to review the next UN report into the assassination of ex-Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri to ensure it is not politicised.

    Syria wants assurances the report will not be politicised

    The comments came in an editorial published on Sunday in Al-Baath, the newspaper of Syria's ruling political party.

    In it the paper said it would be "better to have a legal authority, international or regional, Arab or Lebanese, to judge and decide" if Syria has abided by UN demands that it cooperate with the investigation into the killing.

    "We also need to be assured of the report's legal, criminal or judicial standing," said al-Baath, which is the mouthpiece for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Baath party.

    UN Security Council Resolution 1636, which was passed unanimously last week, demands Syria cooperate more fully with the probe into al-Hariri's killing and detain anyone considered a suspect by UN investigators or face "further action".

    Syria objected to the previous report prepared by chief UN investigator Detlev Mehlis, saying its findings were inaccurate and "politicised".

    Iranian support

    The comments came as the Iranian Foreign Ministry described the international pressure being exerted on Syria as "unacceptable".  

    In Tehran's first reaction to a UN resolution over the murder of al-Hariri, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said:

    "We support Syria without any doubt. Syria is our friend.


    Asefi said Syria was an ally of
    Iran and had Tehran's support

    "The pressure on Syria is unacceptable and is above all
    motivated by political pressure," said Asefi, whose country is
    Damascus' main ally in the region.

    "We think that this resolution has to be based on reality and cannot be arbitrary," he added.

    Meanwhile, a Syrian Foreign Ministry official told The Associated Press on Sunday that 

    Syria has not yet received UN requests to interview six senior Syrian security officials, including al-Assad's brother-in-law, General Assef Shawkat, for questioning over al-Hariri's killing.

    On Saturday, a Lebanese official said Mehlis had issued summons for the men to be questioned. 


    Syria is particularly sensitive about Syrians being questioned in Lebanon because of security concerns. Damascus has not indicated whether it would allow those summoned by Mehlis to travel to Lebanon to be interviewed by the UN team.

    Last week, Syria formed a judicial committee to independently investigate al-Hariri's killing. The committee called for public help, urging anyone with information related to the slaying to come forth.

    Since al-Hariri's killing, Syria has come under intense international pressure to cooperate with the investigation into his death. Many Lebanese accused Syria of playing a role in the massive Beirut bombing that killed al-Hariri and 22 others. Damascus has repeatedly denied any role in the slayings. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.