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Syria's Assad Rejects UN Commission Interview Request


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has rejected a United Nations request to be interviewed as part of an investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Mr. Assad told the Egyptian weekly al-Osboa, in an interview to be published Monday, that he would not appear before the commission. He said as Syria's president he has international immunity. He added that he would only testify if the U.N. request had a legal basis.

The U.N. investigation has already implicated several top Syrian officials in Mr. Hariri's murder, and in October, the Security Council passed a resolution demanding Syria's full cooperation with the probe.

In the interview, Mr. Assad also denied allegations by his former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam that he threatened Mr. Hariri months before he was killed last February.

Syria has denied any involvement in the Hariri assassination.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, and Reuters.
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