Beirut, 6 Dec. (AKI) – German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, the head of a UN probe into the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri, will leave the post even if the investigation is extended beyond its 15 December deadline. A spokesman for Mehlis who asked not to be identified by name, said on Tuesday that the German prosecutor had indicated when he took on the job in June that he could only committ himself for a period no longer than seven months.

Mehlis would remain "available" to assist the commission of inquiry, but not as a full-time member, the spokesman said. On Tuesday Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said he expected the commission of inquiry’s mandate to be renewed beyond 15 December the date on which Mehlis has to submit his final report to the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.
 The investigation could "last [another] six months, a year, or even longer," said Mubarak, after his meeting with Syrian foreign minister, Farouk al Shara,

”I hope the issue will be resolved in the best way possible," said Mubarak, who is believed to have been briefed by al-Shara about the alleged role of top Syrian security officials in the 14 February attack which killed Hariri and 22 other people.

Mehlis has accused Syria of not co-operating with his investigation. He has also sought to question several top Syrian offcials in Beirut on their alleged role in the bombing. Damascus refused the request, but later said some of the officials could be interrogated in Vienna. The interrogation of five of these officials began in the Austrian capital on Monday.