Syria comments to UN report
Syria stressed on Saturday that it has "fully cooperated" with the UN investigating committee on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement "we emphasize that the Syrian Arab Republic who has fully cooperated with the international investigating committee to uncover truth behind the late Rafik Hariri's killing, is renewing the emphasis that it is the first which is damaged by this crime.”
The statement voiced the FM sorrow that the report implied an indication that Syria hadn't cooperated with the international committee. “Syria has been keen on meeting all Mr. Mehlis demands and when it preferred to listen to the Syrian witnesses inside the Syrian territories, the head of the investigating team did not say that he is not agreeing on that,” the statement said. The statement added that the choice of the place was left to the committee head and he preferred that the place of the hearings should be close to the Syrian-Lebanese borders and in a site which is fully under the UN control and that is what happened. It should be noted that the Syrian authorities have suggested to Mr. Mehlis the attendance of the Foreign Ministry adviser in his capability as a lawyer during the hearing sessions and Mr. Mehlis was capable to refuse that."
The statement expressed Syria’s “severe astonishment,” because the report of Mr. Mehlis depended on testimony of Mohammed Zouhari Sidiq and built accusation against Syria on the basis of his testimony.
The statement noted that this came after providing him with a complete file proving that Sidiq was criminal of forgery and deception and he has totally lost his credibility. “We then are surprised to find that the committee is changing the status of Sidiq from a perjury witness who has no credibility into an accused person and from a director of the intelligence branch into a driver; the matter that lost credibility, seriousness and professionalism,” the statement added.
It said the report of Mr. Mehlis was influenced by political atmospheres that prevailed in Lebanon following the assassination and emerged from preconceptions to reach therefore to outcomes of political motivation that put Syria in the accusation circle, defame with not proof.
The Foreign Ministry voiced, “Syria’s sadness,” that the report had depended and in a nonstop way on sayings attributed to Lebanese personalities well-known by their hatred to Syria. “While the report gave these testimonies full credibility, it neglects testimonies made by Syrian officials or deviated its content,” the Ministry said.
The statement noted the report has dealt in large part of its facts and indications related to the crime, including criminal tools and communication means. “Because the report has stressed that the committee needs a persisting work to reach to truth in this respect, therefore we see that this could lead to accuse parties other than those the report put in advance at the circle of accusation and doubt,” the statement said.
Later, the legal advisor at the Foreign Ministry Dr. Riad al-Daoudo said in a press conference on Saturday that it was regretful that Detlev Mehlis report claimed that Syrian Foreign Minister had misled the committee investigating into the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri.
"The Foreign Minister didn't want and had no intention of misleading anybody…the Minister told the committee about the meeting which took place between President Bashar al-Assad and the late Hariri on 26 August 2004…and this event is mentioned in Mehlis' report itself which said there was nothing wrong about it…it's sad that the report gave credibility to several testimonies made by Lebanese officials," he added, according to <i>SANA</I>.