Lebanese President Emile Lahoud left for the U.N. world leaders' summit shrouded by controversy after a U.N. investigation into the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri.
Foes of pro-Syrian Lahoud, who have been calling for his resignation, plus his allies have urged the Lebanese leader to remain here amid the widening probe into Hariri's Feb. 14 slaying and its naming of Lebanese security officials as suspects.
Justice Minister Charles Rizk, who is traveling in the 70-member delegation with close fried Lahoud, said: "Personally, I am not in favor of this visit."
Legislator Walid Eido, who belongs to Lebanon's largest parliamentary bloc headed by Hariri's son, Saad, sarcastically criticized Hariri, saying: "The world cannot wait to hear you and meet you. ... Go and do not deprive us from this peep show."
Many Lebanese accuse Syria and its allies in the Lebanese government of involvement in Hariri's killing. Both sides have denied the charge.
Diplomats have said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also left Lahoud off the guest list for her reception on the sidelines of the U.N. summit, despite meeting him when she visited Beirut in July, the AP reports.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea