The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
This morning the Secretary-General wrote to the Security Council informing them that the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) investigating the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri and 20 others is fully operational as of today.
This notification marks the start of the three-month period given by the Security Council to the Commission to carry out its investigation. This time period, established in resolution 1595 (2005) could be extended for up to three additional months at the discretion of the Secretary-General.
Mr. Detlev Mehlis, the head of the Commission, arrived in Beirut on 26 May and immediately began discussions with the Lebanese authorities regarding the operations of the Commission.
He and the Government of Lebanon concluded a memorandum of understanding this week. Since his arrival, Mr. Mehlis and his team have been reviewing the materials and evidence collected by other investigations and inquiries.