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Syria advised to work with U.N. inquiry

CAIRO, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Egypt warned Syria not to take lightly U.S. demands for cooperation with the U.N. inquiry into the slaying of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Al-Akhbar, Egypt's official daily, said in a front-page editorial Friday it is in Damascus' interests to "cooperate wisely and with political awareness in order to avoid the dangers looming on the horizon."

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The paper, which reflects the opinion of the Egyptian leadership, said: "There is a strong reality which should be taken in full consideration and that is the existence of clear and blunt U.S. accusations against Syria, as well as defined demands.

"There is a clear Security Council decision taken unanimously and this cannot be ignored or neglected."

The Security Council passed on Oct. 28 Resolution 1636 calling on Syria to cooperate with the inquiry led by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis or face "further action."

Mehlis named several Syrian security officials, including President Bashar Assad's brother, Maher, and his brother-in-law, Asaf Shawkat, as suspects to be interviewed in Hariri's Feb. 14 assassination in a massive Beirut bombing.

Al-Akhbar warned Syria Resolution 1636 was issued in line with article seven of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of force to implement international decisions.

"That means a great deal, and could open the door for major and serious developments unless Syria grasps and understands fully the situation and deals with it properly and wisely," the paper cautioned.

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