New UN investigator for Syria?

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Benny Avni of the New York Sun reports that Detlev Mehlis, whose investigation of Syria's involvement in assasinating Lebanese leader Harirri was very tough and thorough, may be replaced Ibrahim Gambari, spokesman for the Secretary General

told reporters that the independent investigation established by the U.N. Security Council in the aftermath of the February car bombing that killed the former Lebanese prime minister, "has to continue" past its December 15 deadline. According to several U.N. sources, Mr. Mehlis has indicated that for personal reasons he may be unable to head the team into the future.

"I don't think he sees himself as continuing ad infinitum," Mr. Gambari said, adding that the investigation will go on "with or without Mehlis." He said that "it is very clear he will need an extension [and] the Lebanese government says it is now ready to approve an extension."

France and America, which are leading the Security Council efforts on Lebanon, as well as Mr. Annan, may now need to find a new investigator. "He is doing a really great job," French ambassador Jean Marc de—la Sabliere told The New York Sun yesterday, referring to Mr. Mehlis. When asked if he was concerned that a replacement might not be as tough as the German investigator, he said, "We don't really know."

"What we did was create an independent international investigatory commission," American ambassador John Bolton said. "That commission will continue. Whether it would be Mr. Mehlis or someone else is a subject we could address later."

Ed Lasky   12 1 05

Benny Avni of the New York Sun reports that Detlev Mehlis, whose investigation of Syria's involvement in assasinating Lebanese leader Harirri was very tough and thorough, may be replaced Ibrahim Gambari, spokesman for the Secretary General

told reporters that the independent investigation established by the U.N. Security Council in the aftermath of the February car bombing that killed the former Lebanese prime minister, "has to continue" past its December 15 deadline. According to several U.N. sources, Mr. Mehlis has indicated that for personal reasons he may be unable to head the team into the future.

"I don't think he sees himself as continuing ad infinitum," Mr. Gambari said, adding that the investigation will go on "with or without Mehlis." He said that "it is very clear he will need an extension [and] the Lebanese government says it is now ready to approve an extension."

France and America, which are leading the Security Council efforts on Lebanon, as well as Mr. Annan, may now need to find a new investigator. "He is doing a really great job," French ambassador Jean Marc de—la Sabliere told The New York Sun yesterday, referring to Mr. Mehlis. When asked if he was concerned that a replacement might not be as tough as the German investigator, he said, "We don't really know."

"What we did was create an independent international investigatory commission," American ambassador John Bolton said. "That commission will continue. Whether it would be Mr. Mehlis or someone else is a subject we could address later."

Ed Lasky   12 1 05