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Bush warns Syria over Lebanon, Iraq

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N12547578.htm Bush warns Syria over Lebanon, Iraq 12 Oct 2005 17:59:28 GMT Source: Reuters By Caren Bohan WASHINGTON,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 12, 2005
      http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N12547578.htm

      Bush warns Syria over Lebanon, Iraq
      12 Oct 2005 17:59:28 GMT
      Source: Reuters
      By Caren Bohan

      WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - President George W.
      Bush declined to comment on the suicide on Wednesday
      of a top Syrian official who had been questioned by a
      U.N. probe about the assassination of a former
      Lebanese prime minister, but underscored U.S. concerns
      that Syria is still far too involved in Lebanon.

      Bush also repeated U.S. warnings to Syria that it
      should do more to stop foreign fighters from crossing
      its border into Iraq.

      Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan committed
      suicide in his office, according to Syria's state news
      agency. He had been questioned three weeks ago by a
      U.N. team probing the February assassination of former
      Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

      The U.N. team, led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis,
      is expected to submit its report on Oct. 21.

      "I don't want to prejudge the report that's coming out
      -- the Mehlis report," Bush told reporters when asked
      about Kanaan's death and its implications for the
      investigation into Hariri's assassination.

      But he added, "It's one thing to have been asked to
      remove troops and all intelligence services. Now the
      world wants for -- expects -- Syria to honor the
      democracy in the country of Lebanon."

      Shortly before news of Kanaan's suicide broke,
      President Bashar al-Assad told CNN Syria was not
      involved in Hariri's death and that he could never
      have ordered it.

      If the U.N. probe concludes Syrians were involved,
      those people would be regarded as traitors who would
      be charged with treason and face either an
      international court or the Syrian judicial process,
      CNN quoted Assad as saying.

      Bush underscored warnings given last month to Syria by
      Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, who
      said "patience is running out with Syria" for failing
      to stop foreign fighters from crossing over into Iraq.

      "We expect Syria to do everything in her power to shut
      down the transshipment of suiciders and killers into
      Iraq," Bush said.

      "We expect Syria to be a good neighbor to Iraq. We
      expect Syria not to agitate killers in the Palestinian
      territories," he added.

      Syria has blamed the United States for the
      infiltration of insurgents into Iraq, saying that
      Washington had failed to secure the other side of the
      Iraqi-Syrian border or give technical help it had
      promised.
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