Syria warns Security Council not to be deceived by U.S. over Hariri probe

Syria on Thursday criticized a draft U.N. resolution against Damascus over a former Lebanese PM killing, urging Security Council members not to be misled by the same U.S. policies that led to Iraq's invasion.

The United States, Britain and France, all permanent Security Council members, on Tuesday proposed a resolution threatening tough sanctions on Syria if it doesn't cooperate with the U.N. probe into Rafik Hariri's Feb. 14 assassination.

The draft also demands Syria make senior officials available for U.N. investigators and would freeze assets and impose travel bans on anyone identified as a suspect.

Syria's government has sharply criticized the U.N. report, but expressed willingness to cooperate in the continuing investigation.

Syria's state-run Al-Thawra newspaper accused Washington of politicizing a U.N. report that implicated senior Lebanese and Syrian officials in Hariri's murder.

The newspaper, which is a government mouthpiece, claimed that U.S. President George W. Bush expects Syria "to respond to all the unattainable demands and conditions, which the U.S. and Israel want from it in terms of maintaining silence over Iraq's occupation, domination of the region and swallowing up the Arabs' rights."

"Don't all of these mean that the United States has pressed toward politicizing the U.N. probe to use the report to play the U.N. Security Council against Syria by adopting the same lies that justified the war on Iraq?" it asked.

Al-Thawra also urged the U.N. Security Council not to "be driven by the misleading U.S. policy that would push the region to the unknown and endanger its stability, threatening international peace."

U.S. claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were used to build the case to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's government. Thorough searches after the war in Iraq are yet to yield any chemical or biological arms, reports the AP.