Officials in Damascus have announced a deal with UN investigators on the questioning of five Syrian officials in Vienna over the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. It appears to reduce the risk of Syrian president Bashir al-Assad locking horns with the UN Security Council. Members passed a resolution last month threatening Damascus with unspecified action if Syria did not cooperate fully with UN investigator Detlev Mehlis.
Hariri was killed in a bomb attack in Beirut in February. It is not yet known if the Syrian officials to be questioned include the head of military intelligence in Damascus, a brother-in-law of the president. The spy chief is said to be on Mehlis’ list of people to question. An earlier report by the UN investigator said the murder of Hariri could not have been carried out without the involvement of Syrian and Lebanese officials. Damascus denies the claim.