Syria asks for U.N. help on Hariri probe

Syria has asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to intervene and help broker a cooperation agreement between Damascus and an inquiry into the killing of Lebanese ex-premier Rafik Hariri.

The Syrian call in a letter by Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara came after a meeting last week between a Syrian legal advisor and chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis appeared to have failed to agree on the venue and legal framework for the questioning of six senior Syrian security officials.

"The foreign minister's letter asked the help of the president of the (U.N.) Security Council and the U.N. secretary-general in agreeing a cooperation protocol with the Syrian government," a foreign ministry official said in a statement.

The assassination in February sparked a wave of protests in Beirut that helped lead to Syria's announced withdrawal from the country in April.

A preliminary U.N. report concluded that there was "converging evidence" that Syrian leaders and pro-Syrian Lebanese officials were involved in the assassination. Syria has denied any role, CNN reports.


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