Syria asks UN to revise Hariri report following bribery charges
Syrian authorities have requested the UN report on the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri be revised in light of recent developments regarding the pay-off of one of the investigation's witnesses to falsely implicate Syria.
Testimony of former Syrian intelligence agent Hussam Taher Hussam's was seen as critical to the conclusions of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis Oct. 20 report to the UN which found that Syria had played a part in the February assassination plot.
Hussam revealed on Sunday that members of Hariri's family had paid him to implicate Syria's President, Bashar Al Assad as well as the president's brother-in-law.
A representative of the Hariri family called the allegation unfounded, and said that it was an attempt to mislead investigators.
However, Fayssal Mekdad, Syria's ambassador to the UN, told reporters, "It is our hope that Mr. Mehlis will take into consideration these recent revelations," according to Bloomberg. He added, "He has full authority to do this and we hope he will. This is clear proof that people were misleading him.''
On his part, former Lebanese minister Weiam Wahab called on Monday for the resignation the Lebanese Minister of Interior Hasan Saba and the arrest of Lebanese journalist Fares Khashan in light of Hussam's declarations. In a press conference, Wahab said "The most important thing is to salvage Lebanon and the most important thing is to salvage the UN creditability as well the international investigating committee."
Wahab underlined that the Israeli intelligence agencies, including the Mossad has a big role in fabricating accusations against Syria and some Lebanese officials.
Based on Hussam's initial testimony, the UN report found six Syrian security officials among the suspects in Hariri's murder. As a result, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution threatening Syria with punishment unless Syria cooperates fully with the UN investigation into the event.
The Syrian president agreed to allow five Syrian officials in Vienna to be questioned on Tuesday.
Syria has denied any involvement in the truck-bombing in Beirut on February 14 that killed the former Lebanese leader along with 22 others. The incident and public outrage in its aftermath are thought to be the main factors international pressure which forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after 29 years.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)