Mubarak arrives in Saudi Arabia to discuss UN-Syria standoff

RIYADH (AP) — Egyptian and Saudi Arabia leaders discussed on Tuesday the standoff between Syria and the United Nations over the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah did not speak to reporters after their talks in the port city of Jeddah, but diplomats from the two countries said they had agreed to send a high-level Saudi envoy to Syria.

The envoy would fly to Damascus on Wednesday, the Saudi diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Mubarak and Abdullah also agreed on the necessity of Syria’s cooperation with the UN commission that is investigating Hariri’s killing last February, the Egyptian diplomat said. They also believed that the two countries’ media should stop the press campaign that each is waging against the other, said the diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the talks, Mubarak and his foreign minister left to return to Cairo.

The UN commission has implicated Syria in Hariri’s killing and has repeated a request to interview Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Syria has denied any involvement in the assassination. It is not known how Syria intends to respond to the latest request to interview Assad, but it rejected the earlier one.

The new request was disclosed after allegations by a former Syrian vice president that Assad had threatened Hariri several months before he was killed in a truck bombing in Beirut that killed 20 other people.

Syria has repeatedly pledged to cooperate fully with the UN commission, but the UN Security Council found last month that it had to failed to do so. The United States has warned Syria the council could take steps against it unless it complies fully with the commission.

The two heavyweights of the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have frequently advised Syria on its relations with Lebanon and the UN investigation, fearing stronger US pressure on Damascus could destabilise the regime.

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