3. Stephane Dujarric entering press room at UN headquarters
4. SOUNDBITE (English): Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General:
"Rather late yesterday the Secretary-General (Kofi Annan) sent a letter to the President of the Security Council informing him that he had received a request from the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Fuad Saniora, to have the so-called Brammertz commission (UN investigation commission led by Belgian judge Serge Brammertz ) give technical assistance to the Lebanese authorities as they investigate the assassination of Pierre Gemayel. Since Mr. Brammertz and his team report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General is transmitting this request to the council for appropriate action."
5. Cutaway wide
6. SOUNDBITE (English): John Bolton, US Ambassador to the UN:
"Well, with respect to the scope of the Brammertz commission investigation, our reading is that there is no end date on the request for assistance that we authorised him to provide to the government of Lebanon. So, in that sense, assuming he has the resources and, we think that he does, it would be our view that he already has authority to extend that assistance and that it would be prudent to do that as rapidly as possible while the crime scene evidence is still fresh and before obstruction of justice can take place. So if he is in a position to do it, we certainly welcome him doing it."
Lebanon's prime minister asked United Nations (UN) investigators probing last year's assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri to assist the government's investigation of the latest assassination of a prominent anti-Syrian Cabinet minister, a spokesman for the UN chief said Wednesday.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Prime Minister Fuad Saniora sent him a letter requesting "technical assistance" in the government's investigation after Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was shot repeatedly in Beirut on Tuesday.
Saniora asked that the UN investigation commission led by Belgian judge Serge Brammertz contact the appropriate Lebanese authorities, Annan said in a letter to the Security Council president.
"Since Mr. Brammertz and his team report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General is transmitting this request to the council for appropriate action," Annan's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
A resolution adopted by the council in June extending the Brammertz commission's mandate for a year supports the investigation's intention to
provide technical assistance to the government into other attacks in Lebanon "as it deems appropriate."
US Ambassador John Bolton said the United States backed Saniora's request and believes Brammertz already has the authorisation to help the Lebanese government.
"Assuming he has resources, and we think that he does, it would be our view that he already has authority to extend that assistance," Bolton said.
"It would be prudent to do that as rapidly as possible while the crime scene evidence is still fresh and before obstruction of justice can take place."
Thirty-four-year-old Gemayel, the scion of a prominent Christian family, was assassinated hours before the Security Council approved a tribunal to prosecute the suspected killers of Hariri and 14 other Lebanese who died at the hands of assassins or their bombs.
With the Security Council's green light, it is now up to the Lebanese government to give final approval to the establishment of the tribunal, which
would be located outside Lebanon and have a majority of international judges and an international prosecutor.
The February 2005 truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others sparked huge protests against Syria, which was widely seen as culpable.
Syria denied involvement, but was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year presence.
Syria also denied involvement in Gemayel's assassination and condemned it, but Syria's opponents in Lebanon and allies of Gemayel pointed the finger at Damascus.
Some accused Syria of trying to block the establishment of the tribunal.