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Syrian Interior Minister Commits Suicide

Syria's Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan has committed suicide, weeks after being questioned about the murder of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

The Syrian news agency said General Kanaan's death occurred at his office. He reportedly shot himself in the mouth.

General Kanaan had been questioned recently by United Nations investigators probing the February assassination of Mr. Hariri. The investigators are to issue a final report on the probe this month.

In Washington, President Bush declined to comment on the apparent suicide of Mr. Kanaan. But he called on Syria to respect democracy in Lebanon.

Syria has denied any role in Mr. Hariri's murder. In an interview with CNN-television, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said if a Syrian national is implicated in the murder, he would be considered a traitor and most severely punished.

The interview broadcast Wednesday was recorded earlier.