Lebanon News

Hariri pledges support for Syria rebels

Hariri meets with leaders of the Syrian opposition’s National Coalition at his residence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri pledged his unwavering support for the Syrian revolution, vowing to see through a transition to a democratic government, in a meeting with members of the Syrian opposition’s leadership Tuesday.

“Our Arab, fraternal and humanitarian responsibility obligates us to support the opposition and the leadership of the National Coalition,” Hariri told a delegation from the coalition. “And we will not stop supporting the Syrian revolution and its democratic forces, regardless of the challenges, until a democratic national leadership emerges in Syria on the ruins of the tyrannical regime.”

Hariri met with the delegation at his residence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the Syrian opposition leaders also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The group was led by Syrian National Coalition head Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, and included Vice Presidents Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, Secretary General Mustafa Sabbagh and Sheikh Ahmad Assi.

According to Hariri’s press office, discussions during the meeting focused on the goals the coalition is working to achieve, especially as events in Syria have accelerated in recent days.

On the heels of the establishment last month of the National Coalition, Hariri commended efforts to unify the ranks of the Syrian opposition and the preparations in the works for a political transition.

The meeting between the Lebanese opposition leader and the National Coalition members came as Hariri’s Future Movement faced questions on the extent of their support for the Syrian revolution.

The Future Movement has long supported the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad but had maintained its role is limited to political and moral support.

But Future bloc MP Oqab Saqr admitted in remarks published Monday to arranging arms transfers to aid the Syrian opposition.

The admission came after transcripts of recordings of the lawmaker in conversation with a rebel leader were published by the Lebanese daily, Al-Akhbar, which maintains Saqr was acting under Hariri’s direction. Hariri has not commented on the recording.

In the meeting, Hariri underscored his complete solidarity with the rebellion and its political leadership and said Lebanon was eager for the establishment of a democratic system in the neighboring state.

“We in Lebanon are looking forward to the day when the aspirations of the Syrian people to establish a democratic system and end the era of tyranny, which oppressed them for many years, are achieved.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 05, 2012, on page 3.




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