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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 19:24 GMT
Lebanon agrees to Hariri inquiry
Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud (centre)
Hammoud (centre) was critical of the UN report's conclusions
Lebanon has indicated it is prepared to co-operate with an international inquiry into last month's killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The move follows a UN report which described Lebanon's own investigation into the bomb attack in Beirut as flawed and inconclusive.

Lebanese authorities criticised the report's findings, saying they were "alien to reality".

And they insisted that any inquiry would have to work with the government.

At a press conference on Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud said the inquiry would be expected to work within an established framework "in co-operation with the state".

"Until now we have not abolished our institutions," he said. "We respect international law and we are committed to the sovereignty of Lebanon."

'Alien to reality'

The UN report did not specify who was behind the 14 February killing but blamed Syria for the political tension that preceded the assassination.

It said the Lebanese inquiry was unsatisfactory.

"The Lebanese investigation process suffers from serious flaws and has neither the capacity nor the commitment to reach a satisfactory and credible conclusion.

"To find the truth it would be necessary to entrust the investigation to an international independent commission."

The report added that Lebanon's security services were unlikely to conduct an adequate inquiry under its current leadership.

Mr Hammoud said the report's conclusions were "alien to reality" adding they were "not based on documents or evidence".

However, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud called on the UN to "do what is necessary" to find Mr Hariri's killers.

But Syria criticised the report, saying it contained "too much rhetoric" and was one-sided.

It comes as Lebanon commemorates 40 days since Mr Hariri's death.

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