By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 12/12/2005 | 8:00 pm
The UN Security Council will discuss on Tuesday the new Mehlis report on the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The report came hours after anti-Syrian MP and Lebanese newspaper magnate, Gebran Tueni was killed in a blast in Beirut.
The report also comes days after UN investigator Detlev Mehlis's team questioned five Syrian officials.
Details from the report, of which Morocco Times obtained a copy, have indicated that Syria did not fully cooperate with the investigation committee into the killing of the late Lebanese PM. The 25-page report urges Syria to detain its senior officials, suspected of involvement in the assassination.
"Syria must detain those Syrian officials or individuals whom the commission considers as suspected of involvement in the planning, sponsoring, organising or perpetrating of this terrorist act, and make them fully available to the commission," said the report.
The report said it had identified 19 suspects but did not name them. It said five Syrian officials questioned by UN investigators in Vienna this month were suspects.
It also pointed at an organised operation aiming at killing Rafik Hariri, including the recruitment of special agents by the Lebanese and Syrian intelligent services, handling of improvised explosive devices, a patter of threats against targeted individuals, and planning of other criminal activities.
A statement from a witness strengthens the evidence confirmed to date against the Lebanese in custody, as well as high-ranked Syrian officers, said the report.
The investigation has also uncovered more specific information about the manner in which the Syrian security apparatus controlled and manipulated the security situation in Lebanon.
Mehlis also said that statements made by two of the suspects in Vienna "indicated that all Syrian intelligence documents concerning Lebanon had been burned."
In Damascus, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad warned on Sunday that an attempt to impose sanctions against his nation would destabilize the region and the entire world.
"The Middle East is the heart of the world, and Syria is the heart of the Middle East," Assad told Russia's channel 2.
"If the situation in Syria and Iraq isn't good, the whole region will become unstable, and the entire world will pay for that."
He further vowed to punish any Syrian proven to be involved in the assassination of Hariri.
In an October interim report, Mehlis implicated senior Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in the plot to kill Hariri.
After the report, the Security Council warned Syria it had to cooperate fully with the UN team or face further action that could lead to sanctions.
Syria has denied the accusations and called the Mehlis report politically motivated.
Hosam Taher Hosam, a key Syrian witness in the report, has recently recanted his testimony and accused Lebanese officials of threats, bribery and torture to induce him to testify falsely against Syria.
Mehlis expects to leave his post at the end of the year. But Lebanon requested the inquiry be extended for a further six months and the Security Council is likely to renew the mandate before it expires on Thursday, December 15.