Lebanon Hariri UN probe head says makes progress in analyzing the crime

The head of a U.N. inquiry into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri said on Monday he had made progress in analyzing the crime scene in Beirut and investigating suspects.
But Serge Brammertz told the U.N. Security Council and reporters that about 20 countries out of 60 had not responded to his call for assistance or said their national legislation barred cooperation.

Syria, whose top officials had been implicated by Brammertz's predecessor in the February 2005 killing, had provided prompt replies to his requests, he said.
Brammertz, who did not specify the progress he had made, refused to name the nations that had not cooperated or possible suspects except to say, "what I can confirm that we are still working on all possible hypotheses."

Brammertz, a Belgian, heads the U.N. probe into the assassination and 15 other apparently politically-motivated attacks. He was briefing the Security Council on his report released last week, which also shed little light on how long the probe would take and who was behind the attacks.

Among his 16 cases, in cooperation with Lebanese authorities, is the assassination of Lebanese industry minister Pierre Gemayel on Nov. 21.
Brammertz's evidence is to be submitted to a special tribunal the Lebanese government is trying to organize.
He said he feared for witnesses and was in touch with various nations who might harbor them.

Syria denies involvement in the Hariri slaying, which took place after the former prime minister accused Damascus of meddling in Lebanese politics. Street protests in Lebanon after the killing prompted Syria to withdraw forces that had been in the country for 22 years.

In response to Brammertz's report, Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari emphasized several times that the investigation showed the extent of Syrian cooperation. But he warned unidentified nations "in our region and beyond" against reaching "politicized conclusions" based on the report.

Source: Reuters

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