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UN Hariri probe nears completion without full Syrian cooperation

[JURIST] German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, head of a UN investigation [UN materials] into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] returned to Lebanon Tuesday as he prepares to close the investigation and prepare a final report due to UN Security Council by December 15. Hariri was assassinated by a truck bomb in Beirut earlier this year and Mehlis' interim report [text] implicated security officials from both Syria and Lebanon in the murder. The Syrian government has launched its own investigation [JURIST report] into Hariri's death but has yet to fully cooperate with Mehlis, despite a Security Council resolution [text] threatening further action against Damascus if it fails to cooperate with the UN probe. Last week, Mehlis held talks with a Syrian official [JURIST report] but they did not agree on a venue for Mehlis to question six top Syrian officers [JURIST report], including the brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [BBC profile] and head of Syrian military intelligence, Major General Assef Shawkat. Mehlis has rejected a compromise proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President Assad that they use UN offices in the Golan Heights. Reuters has more.

1:50 PM ET - Syrian officials said Tuesday that a letter has been sent to Annan asking for the help of the Security Council and the UN secretary-general in reaching agreement on the venue and legal framework for the questioning of the six Syrian military and security officials. Reuters has more.

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