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U.N. Calls for Probe Into Hariri's Assassination

A U.N. report Thursday into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (search) concludes that an independent, international investigation is needed.

The report, which was obtained by The Associated Press and was to be released later Thursday, says there was a "distinct lack of commitment" by Lebanese authorities to investigate the crime, and the investigation was not carried out "in accordance with acceptable international standards."

In Beirut, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud (search) responded by saying he had told U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to do "what is necessary" to learn who was behind the Feb. 14 killing.

The investigation was carried out by team led by deputy Irish Police Commissioner Peter Fitzgerald (search), appointed by Annan at the behest of the U.N. Security Council.

In his report, Fitzgerald demanded an "international independent commission" with the authority to interrogate witnesses, conduct searches and other tasks. He said such an inquiry would be impossible without Lebanon's cooperation.

Hariri was killed in central Beirut in an explosion that claimed 17 other lives.

The killing led to political turmoil in Lebanon. Mass demonstrations forced the resignation of the Lebanese government and intensified the international campaign for Syria to withdraw its troops from the country.

Syria has now pulled back its troops and intelligence agents into eastern Lebanon near the border and has been promising to work out their complete removal with the pro-Syrian government in Beirut.