Hariri to return to Lebanon before parliamentary elections after more than two years in exile
Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri told reporters Monday that he will be returning to Lebanon before parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year to "work with his rivals for the good of the country," according to Reuters.
“I will return to Lebanon for the elections and so that one day I can be prime minister,” he told Europe 1 radio, and when asked about sharing power with his rivals, Hariri said that “Lebanon’s interest is more important than mine."
Hariri has been living in exile between France and Saudi Arabia since 2011 after his government was toppled by Hezbollah. He has not yet specified the date for his return.
Indications of possible cooperation between Hariri's Sunni-affiliated Future Party and rival political groups, such as Shiite-affiliated Hezbollah, represents "a sharp turnabout [for Hariri]," reported Reuters.
Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government since the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati in March 2013. A caretaker cabinet has been in place since the resignation, with parliamentary elections scheduled to end the caretaker session in November.
Hariri has been attending the recently resumed trial of the assassination of his father in a 2005 car bomb plot at the Hague. The former Prime Minister reasserted his belief Monday that the Syrian regime was responsible for the death of his father.
“Everyone knows who gave the order. It was Bashar Al Assad. One day we will go and get them (those responsible). They [the assassins] will pay,” said Hariri.
He also said that Assad was responsible for the recent assassination of Mohammad Chatah in December who was a former adviser to Hariri.