Former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri and 22 others died from a powerful explosive. The United Nations Security Council directed Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a commission to investigate the killings. Former German prosecutor Judge Detlev Mehlis, who headed the commission, issued his report to the Security Council on Oct. 25, stating there was evidence senior Syrian security officials and their Lebanese allies plotted the bombing. The report also said there was no “substantive” cooperation from the Syrian government with the commission’s investigation.
While the fate of his nation was being discussed Oct. 27 in the council chamber, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Fayssal Mekdad, sat down with The Final Call for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Staff Writer Saeed Shabazz.
FinalCall.com News (FC): Are the Syrian people rallying around their government?
Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad: The people are united behind the government, which is being steadfast in denying those allegations in the Mehlis Report, and at the same time this government is confirming that Syria will cooperate with this investigation. In fact, in the past, we have cooperated fully with the investigation. We provided Mr. Mehlis with all that he asked. We feel dismayed by the report because, if he (Judge Mehlis) had all these complaints, why didn’t he raise them with the Syrian authorities?
However, we think this investigation until now has taken a different path.It has come to conclusions that, according to the commission, still needs months, perhaps years, of investigation. The most important fact is that Mr. Hariri, who did great things for Lebanon, was an ally of Syria. So, it is impossible that Syria is collaborating with criminals.
FC: As a diplomat, how hard is it for you to sit by while your nation is the subject of a public criminal investigation by the international community?
FM: It is absolutely difficult. My appeal to the international media is to deal with the issue fairly; and to project what Syria is saying.
FC: How do you see the issue of the resolution shaping up diplomatically?
FM: The United States is trying to blackmail Syria and, of course, to blackmail the international community against Syria, to blackmail the United Nations and the Security Council. And I am sure that this blackmail does not serve the interests of the Lebanese; it serves the interests of the United States. The United States that has invaded Iraq, that has supported vehemently, without any reservations, the Israeli policies of killing Palestinians; and of ongoing Israeli occupation of Arab territories. So, the resolution put before the Security Council represents an American draft for the region, which will lead to more explosive situations and more tragedy for the region.
FC: Thank you.