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Lebanon commemorates assassination of former PM amid political dispute

Lebanon's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian warned that the country was once again "coming apart," amid preparations marking the 17th anniversary of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination.

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Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian warned on Sunday that the country was once again “coming apart,” as if those in power had not learned from earlier mistakes that cost Lebanese lives and livelihoods.

His warning comes as Lebanon prepares to mark the 17th anniversary of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination on Monday, amidst an ongoing political standoff exacerbated by Hezbollah over how the Cabinet would approve the 2022 draft budget.

The February 14 commemoration in Beirut comes amid divisions within the Future Movement following the Sunni leader and former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s announcement of his retirement from politics and a request to his parliamentary bloc not to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections under the party’s name.

Al-Hariri will thus take part in the memorial service for his father’s assassination without delivering his customary address.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, several political and religious luminaries paid a visit to Rafik Hariri’s mausoleum in downtown Beirut.

“How long can the martyrs’ list continue? Lebanon has nearly become a martyr,” Derian observed as he stood in front of the tomb. “Today, Lebanon is embroiled in moral corruption, political incompetence, and financial and economic catastrophe,” he continued. “Honoring the martyr Hariri entails preserving his moral and national legacy and continuing public service in the spirit of the constructive approach he maintained throughout his career.”

Additionally, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stated before the tomb: “The minute Hariri was assassinated on February 14, 2005, the operation to dismantle the state began, with the goal of establishing various powers and undermining the state’s pillars.

“Attempts to undermine Lebanon’s parliamentary democratic system continue, with the goal of transforming Lebanon’s character and incorporating it into the well-known regional project.”

Siniora emphasized Lebanon’s need for national rescue action by renewing Rafik Hariri’s national project’s ideals. “This is predicated on restoring the state’s role and extending its complete control over all of its lands and facilities,” Siniora explained, adding that reform measures must be implemented, and an emphasis placed on Islamic-Christian coexistence.

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