The acting head of the UN investigation into the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri said Saturday he believed "Syrian authorities" were behind the murder.
In an interview with pan-Arab daily Ash-Sharq al-Awsat, Detlev Mehlis said he felt Syria was "definitely" behind the assassination but refused to elaborate on how high-up the Syrian command this involvement went.
Despite mounting international pressure, Syria evaded threatened "further action" and was asked once more to extend its full cooperation to the UN investigation last week through Security Council Resolution 1644.
However, according to officials in Washington, this "doesn't mean that the pressure on Syria to cooperate will not continue."
Mehlis also criticized a request from Damascus that his latest report be rewritten, saying such behavior was "very stupid."
The German prosecutor further said Syria has tried to "derail the investigation," citing flip-flop witness Houssam Taher Houssam as an example.
Houssam has admitted to lying to the UN probe investigating Hariri's murder, after which the Syrian government demanded Mehlis "rewrite his report, which was mostly based on lies."
Mehlis reiterated his belief there is a link between the series of assassination attempts in Lebanon since October 1, 2004, but refused to comment if they were linked with the Hariri case.
"There are links between them. Between them and Hariri's murder, I am not in a position to say so," he said.
However, Mehlis didn't believe the UN probe was the body to investigate these attacks.
Mehlis further revealed that his life had been threatened during the time he led the probe, and that this was one reason he had decided to step down, The Daily Star reports.
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill