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Hariri to attend UN-backed court ruling on father's assassination Tuesday

Bassem Aly , Monday 17 Aug 2020
Saad Al-Hariri
FILE PHOTO Lebanon's Saad Al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 29, 2019 REUTERS
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Lebanon's former prime minister Saad Al-Hariri travelled to The Hague on Monday to attend the UN-backed court ruling on the assassination of his father Rafik Al-Hariri in 2005. 

According to Sky News Arabia, Saad will hold a press conference on Tuesday after hearing the court judgement in the case in which its four defendants are linked to Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah group.

The defendants, tried in absentia, are charged with masterminding and executing the bombing that led to the death of 22 people, including Rafik Al-Hariri, by a suicide bomber in a van that carried explosives.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon postponed its ruling from 7 August to 18 August following the Lebanese capital's port explosion earlier this month “out of respect for the countless victims of the devastating explosion that shook Beirut on 4 August, and the three-days of public mourning in Lebanon.”

The explosion left 200 dead, 6,000 injured, and 300,000 homeless.

In the aftermath of the blast, several Lebanese parliamentarians and the ministers of justice, information and environment resigned. Top diplomat Nassif Hitti resigned ahead of the tragedy, citing the absence of an effective will to achieve “comprehensive structural reform which our society and the international community have urged us to do.” 

Hezbollah-backed Prime Minister Hassan Diab also resigned, becoming a caretaker head of a coalition government until a new one is formed.

Lebanese political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, an ally of Hezbollah, has nominated Al-Hariri to lead the new cabinet. 

The sources added that President Michel Aoun, another ally of Hezbollah, seemingly doesn't mind the nomination. Al-Hariri, a Sunni leader, resigned as prime minister in October 2019 amid protests against all political forces due to the severe deterioration of social and economic conditions in Lebanon.

Al-Hariri, who enjoys good relations with Western and Arab states, had then refused to lead a new cabinet following disagreements with Hezbollah. 

Hezbollah and Aoun, in December 2019, backed Diab for forming a new coalition government, a process that was successfully finalised a month later. 

But Al-Hariri's Future Movement, the strongly anti-Hezbollah Christian Lebanese Forces Party, and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party did not join this government.  

Diab's coalition faced strong opposition from Gulf countries and the United States, mainly because it enjoyed the support of Hezbollah.

However, following the Beirut explosion, all countries offered financial backing to Lebanon.

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