The US and France say they expect the Lebanese government to keep its promise and cooperate fully with a newly authorized international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
France's UN ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere told reporters that Thursday's unanimous UN Security Council approval of a resolution authorizing the probe underlined how strongly the council "wants the truth to be established."
The council's 15 to 0 vote came two weeks after a UN fact-finding team issued a report saying a Lebanese investigation was riddled with flaws and didn't meet international standards. The team, led by deputy Irish police commissioner Peter Fitzgerald, said an international probe was needed.
Hariri's Feb. 14 killing in a bombing caused an uproar in Lebanon, sparking massive anti-Syrian street protests. The Lebanese opposition claimed Syria and Lebanon's pro-Syrian government orchestrated the killing. Syria denies any involvement.
"We want to get to the bottom of this assassination and what we believe to be a terrorist act," US deputy ambassador Stuart Holliday said. "Lebanon has indicated they will cooperate. We expect them to hold to their word, and that includes all aspects of the government of Lebanon."
De La Sabliere agreed, saying: "There will be cooperation and I'm confident that the commission will be able to do the job."
The resolution welcomes Lebanon's approval of the independent investigation, but the council rejected amendments proposed by the government that would have given it a major role in the inquiry.
The council authorized an international independent commission to assist Lebanese authorities in their investigation "of all aspects of this terrorist act," but it left the commission to decide what role Lebanese authorities would play.
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