The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding Syria cooperate with a UN inquiry into the killing of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. It was passed after the principal backers of the text – the United States and France – agreed to delete a specific reference to economic sanctions. It now says the Council would consider possible unspecified further action if Syria does not comply.
French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy congratulated the Security Council on coming to a decision so quickly. He said the sole aim of the resolution was to get to the truth, to find out who was responsible for the death of Hariri. The UN report presented earlier this month suggested that Syrian and Lebanese officials were to blame for the assassination. The resolution means that Damascus must detain anyone that UN investigators consider a suspect. Syria must allow witnesses and suspects to be interviewed out of the country. The text also demands a travel ban and the freezing of assets of those thought to have carried out the truck bombing in Beirut earlier this year, that killed Hariri and 22 others. The UN investigation found that the decision to kill Hariri could not have been taken without the approval of top-ranking Syrian security officials, colluding with their Lebanese counterparts.