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U.S., France Float Tough Resolution On Syria

Pro-government demonstrations in Damascus on 24 October as the UN prepared to discuss the Hariri probe (AFP) 26 October 2005 -- The United States, and France have circulated a draft resolution at the United Nations threatening sanctions against Syria if it doesn't cooperate with a UN investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The Security Council draft resolution orders Syria to detain officials or individuals considered possible suspects in the 14 February assassination of Rafik Hariri and make them available to the UN investigating commission.

If Syria does not fully cooperate with the investigation, the draft says the council intends to consider "further measures," including sanctions, to ensure compliance by Syria.

Earlier yesterday at the UN, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the Security Council must send Syria a strong signal.

"We want a very strong signal from the council to the government of Syria that its obstructionism has to cease and cease immediately and we want substantive cooperation in the investigation from Syria," Bolton said. "We want witnesses made available; we want documents produced. We want real cooperation, not simply the appearance of cooperation."

Syria's UN ambassador told the council that Damascus had no involvement in Hariri's death and that his country is being victimized.