LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has presented Lebanon and Syria with a plan to defuse tensions between the two countries over the killing of ex-Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the FT in an interview that the kingdom had made proposals for an agreement, but was waiting for a response from Beirut and Damascus, and details would have to be worked out.

"Now it’s in the hands of both countries and they will let us know," he said.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged caution in dealing with the standoff between Syria and the international community. "When investigating the circumstances of the crime, it is extremely important to stay within the legal framework and not to try, as with the Iranian nuclear program, to use this problem as an instrument for achieving political goals," Interfax quoted Lavrov as telling a news conference. Prince Saud insisted the kingdom was not seeking a compromise on the United nations probe into last February’s killing of Hariri which has implicated top Syrian officials in the assassination.

"This (initiative) has nothing to do with the investigation. We are as anxious as anyone to find out who the perpetrators are and we want them to be found quickly," he said.

The assassination of Hariri, a close Saudi ally who fell out with Damascus in his last days, sparked international alarm, put a chill on once-warm relations between the two neighbors and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April.

Syria denies any involvement in the murder of Hariri and 22 others and has said it will not let U.N. investigators question Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the murder, threatening a new showdown with the international community.

A  U.N. security council resolution passed in October demands that Syria cooperate fully with the investigation or face unspecified action.

Prince Saud said the proposals were designed to pave the way for negotiations between Beirut and Damascus on details of an agreement.

He said Riyadh’s priority was to reduce tensions between Beirut and Damascus and prevent more chaos in the region.

"We have enough problems as it is," he said. "It’s about time we resolve the ones we have – Palestine, Iraq – instead of establishing more."

Lavrov said Russia encouraged Syria to continue to cooperate with the United Nations commission.

"Sanctions are unlikely to prove an effective way to solve these or other problems," he added.