BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has renewed his backing for a UN-backed investigation into the murder of his father, despite warnings by Hezbollah the probe could plunge the country into crisis.
“The work of the tribunal is ongoing and there are many investigators in Lebanon, and they are doing their own work,” Hariri told the BBC in an interview late Tuesday during an official visit to Britain.
Asked whether he gave 100-percent backing to the tribunal set up after former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, Hariri replied: “Yes.”
Hariri confirmed he would not cut links with investigators despite demands to that effect from Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese Shiite militant group.
Tensions have been rising in Beirut amid unconfirmed reports the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is set to indict members of Hezbollah in connection with Hariri’s murder.
The Iranian- and Syrian-backed movement has made clear it would not accept such an outcome.
Sheikh Naim Qassem, the Shiite militant group’s second-in-command, this week warned any charges against Hezbollah members would be “equivalent to lighting the fuse, to igniting the wick for an explosion.”
In his interview with the BBC, Saad Hariri insisted dialogue was the best way out of the current standoff with Hezbollah and downplayed the risk of unrest.
“I think what is dangerous is not to (hold) dialogue about the issues that are really difficult in the country, and I think this is one of the difficult issues in Lebanon,” the premier said.