Lebanon's prime minister, Sa'ad Hariri, has said it was a ´mistake´ to accuse Syria of the assassination of his father, Rafiq al-Hariri. ´At a certain point we made a mistake in accusing Syria of assassinating the martyred prime minster,' he told the London-based daily Sharq al-Awsat. 'That was a political accusation and that political accusation has now come to an end.'
Syria, which was widely blamed for the bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others, has always denied involvement but the issue remains highly sensitive in Lebanon. Hariri´s murder was the start of the 'Cedar Revolution' of 14 March 2005 and eventually led to the departure of the Syrian troops from Lebanon.
Since then, however, the relations have gradually improved, culminating in a visit Hariri paid on 19 December 2009 to Damascus, during which the two leaders cnfirmed that they would cooperate to guarantee the stability of Lebanon. Hariri paid some more visits to Syria since then, but never said as clearly that the accusation against Syria´s involvement was wrong.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reportedly going to made public its verdict soon. Last months it became known that it is expected to indict members of the Lebanese Hizbollah movement, which caused tensions in Lebanon to rise. Hezbollah´s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah displayed at a press conference at the end of August what he said were intercepted aerial surveillance tapes that indicated Israeli intelligence had been tracking Rafiq al-Hariri's movements before his death. Nasrallah claimed he had more evidence gainst the Israelis, pointing to the involvement of spies belonging to the extended Israeli spy network that the Lebanese have uncovered in the past months. A wek ago Nasrallah also said that he does not recognise the legitimacy of the tribunal and would co-operate only with the Lebanese judiciary.
Israel has dismissed Hezbollah's claims as ´idiculous´. The prosecutor of the Tribunl, who had asked Nasrallah to hand over the evidence, has called it ´incomplete´.