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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Beirut seeks longer murder probe
German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis
Detlev Mehlis's team have been investigating Rafik Hariri's death
Lebanon has formally asked the UN to extend the length of the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Beirut wants the mandate extended to 15 December to help the judiciary "pursue its work and own inquest", said Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.

The UN investigation, led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, is set to present its findings on 21 October.

Beirut's request comes a day after the death of Syrian minister Ghazi Kanaan.

Syria says Mr Kanaan committed suicide on Wednesday, three weeks after Mr Mehlis's team questioned him as part of their report into Mr Hariri's death.

Assistance

The information minister said Lebanon's judicial system required "assistance from the commission on certain questions", but insisted the request had nothing to do with the report's findings.

The Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, first raised the issue of an extension with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier this month.

According to UN Security Council Resolution 1595, which established the international inquiry, the UN is able to request an extension of the mandate from the council.



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