Saad Hariri in Lebanon for anniversary of father’s assassination
He will speak at a ceremony dedicated to his father in central Beirut, state news agency NNA says
Lebanon's former prime minister Saad Hariri arrived back in the country overnight on a rare visit and will make a speech on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of his father Rafik’s assassination, Lebanese media said.
He will speak at a ceremony dedicated to his father in central Beirut, state news agency NNA and pro-Hariri newspaper al-Mustaqbal said. Soldiers patrolled streets near the venue in the capital on Saturday and blocked off traffic.
Rafiq Hariri was killed in a 2005 Beirut waterfront bombing that brought the country back to the brink of civil war.
Five members of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah have been indicted over the killing by an international tribunal in The Hague, which is being closely watched in Lebanon. The trial in absentia began in January 2014 and Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the killing.
The assassination pushed Hariri's son Saad into political life. He remains Lebanon’s most influential Sunni politician, despite leaving the country in 2011 after his government was toppled by a coalition including Hezbollah. He splits his time between Saudi Arabia and France, who support him.
Despite the animosity between the two groups, Hariri’s Future Movement is now working with Hezbollah to contain sectarian tensions back in Lebanon that have been exacerbated by the war in Syria.
The four-year-old war conflict involves overwhelmingly Sunni insurgents who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Shiite-derived Alawite minority, and allied Shiite groups including Hezbollah.
Saad visited Lebanon for the first time in three years in August. Politicians and public figures expressed hope that his return would help stabilize Lebanon, which is plagued by violence and caught in political deadlock, unable to elect a new president after several attempts.