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Syria seeks legal deal with UN on Hariri assassination probe

[JURIST] Syria has requested a formal "cooperation protocol" with the United Nations which would govern the country's assistance with a UN investigation [UN materials] into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [JURIST news archive]. A draft given to the UN indicates that Syria wants chief UN investigator and German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis to only question suspects and potential witnesses inside Syria with their lawyers present, and also wants Mehlis to share his findings with Syrian investigators [JURIST report]. The UN Security Council [official website] has said that it will not accept Syria's cooperation restrictions. Mehlis, who released an interim report [text] last month saying he has evidence of Syrian and Lebanese involvement in Hariri's murder, has insisted on questioning six key Syrian officials but a venue for the interviews has not been agreed upon [JURIST report]. Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara indicated that the document was only a starting point for negotiations and that the country may give in to a venue decision if an agreement is reached, but also said that a rejection of the document shows that the UN is not cooperating with Syria. Reuters has more.

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