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Lebanon remembers Rafiq Hariri

Lebanon marked the first anniversary of former premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination in an emotional commemoration.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 15:18 IST

Lebanon on Tuesday marked the first anniversary of former premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination in an emotional commemoration.

The country struggled to unite in the shadow of its former powerbroker Syria.

Hariri's son Saad returned home at the weekend after six months in exile to issue an emotional appeal for a massive turnout as a show of Lebanese reconciliation.

"It will be a day of a renewal of faith in the unity of Lebanon," said Hariri, now the head of the anti-Syrian majority in parliament.

"I call on all Lebanese to adopt a historic position of unity on this day to show that our national unity is above all else and that the forces of March 14 will remain united."

Candlelit rallies and concerts have been planned to mark the massive Beirut seafront bombing that killed Hariri and 20 other people on Valentine's Day 2005, plunging Lebanon into shock and political turmoil.

Syria, which pulled out its troops from Lebanon after a three-decade military presence, has been implicated in the Hariri murder by a UN commission of inquiry and several top officials have been interrogated.

"We do not ask for a change of regime in Syria, but that it makes peace. We thank Syria for having ended the war in Lebanon but we will handle our own affairs now," Saad Hariri said in an interview with Lebanese television.

The US, which has been leading the campaign against Syria, said on Monday that those responsible for the assassination will be brought to justice.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 15:12 IST