DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – President Bashar Assad, invoking Syria’s national sovereignty, indicated Saturday he would not submit to an interview request from the U.N. investigation into Rafik Hariri’s assassination.
In a speech to the Arab Lawyers Union, Assad pledged, however, to continue cooperation with the international probe. The U.N. investigation has said Syria has not been sufficiently forthcoming.
“The issue of national sovereignty is paramount, not the (U.N.) Security Council decision or others,” Assad said.
The Syrian leader did not specifically address the request by the U.N. investigation into the murder of the former Lebanese premier for an interview with him and his foreign minister about threats Assad allegedly made against Hariri months before the assassination.
That left open the possibility that he might later agree to meet with U.N. investigators, rather than submit to an interview.
Assad said the issue of national sovereignty supersedes any legal and political considerations.
“We should not give up our national sovereignty even if the circumstance requires that we fight for our country. We must be prepared to that.”