Hariri ‘Rejects any Hezbollah Deal’

Saad al-Hariri, the leader of Lebanon’s Future movement, has said he will refuse to join a Hezbollah-led coalition government should the Shia party and its allies win the country’s forthcoming elections.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, al-Hariri said that a win for Hezbollah could have "consequences" for Lebanon, but said he was confident his party and its March 14 alliance allies would win.

He told Al Jazeera’s James Bays that if Hezbollah won the election on June 7 he would be "in the opposition".

"If Hezbollah wins and its coalition – the 8th March – I think it will have consequences on the country," he said, although he would not specify what those consequences might be.

"But I have faith in God and the people of Lebanon. I’m not thinking of losing. I didn’t run in this election to lose."

He said that his party and its allies, a coalition broadly opposed to Syrian influence on the country and named after the date of Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution, were campaigning on economic issues.

"We want to give every single Lebanese a job," he said.

Hezbollah Angered

Tensions have risen in Lebanon before the June 7 election, which could see the Western-backed government unseated by the Hezbollah-led opposition, which is supported by Iran and Syria.

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, reacted angrily on Monday to a report in the German Der Spiegel magazine that alleged the group had been involved in the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, Saad’s father and a former prime minister of Lebanon.

The Hezbollah leader said the report was part of an "American-Israeli scheme" to stir up Sunni-Shia strife and provoke a fight between Arabs and Persian Iran.

Der Spiegel’s report quoted an unnamed source as saying that the UN-backed tribunal into the assassination had found evidence which suggested Hezbollah had a role in the Beirut bombing that killed Rafiq al-Hariri and 22 other people in February 2005.

Responding to the report, Israel’s foreign minister said that an international arrest warrant should be issued for Nasrallah.

‘Suspicious’ Report

Michel Sleiman, Lebanon’s president, called the Der Spiegel report "suspicious" and said it harmed the work of a UN tribunal that is investigating the killings.

Suleiman said that he was confident the tribunal would not be used for political purposes.

After al-Hariri’s death, many blamed Syria, which had long dominated Lebanese affairs. Syria denied it had a role.

Walid al-Moallem, Syria’s foreign minister, dismissed the report as "trash".
 
(Aljazeera.net English and Agencies)

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