Anti-Erdogan protest in Lebanon
Photo: Reuters
Rafiq Hariri. When will indictments be filed?
Photo: AFP
Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: AP
Erdogan: Hezbollah didn't murder Hariri
As-Safir newpaper reports Turkish prime minister defends Hezbollah which is likely to be charged with former Lebanese PM's murder. Meanwhile, Iranian supreme leader hosts Saad Hariri, says 'Any division in Lebanon serves Israeli interests'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Hezbollah was not involved in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported.


According to the report, Erdogan made the statements in a press conference after returning to Turkey from Lebanon.


Erdogan reportedly mentioned his meeting with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and their discussion on the Hariri murder case. "Hezbollah says it’s the spirit of resistance in Lebanon and even uses the expression 'Hariri's shahid.' No can suspect it of being involved in this. The organization even supports the Syrian-Saudi initiative to diffuse the tensions," he said.


Last week, Al Jazeera reported that during his visit to Lebanon, Erdogan presented a proposal to postpone by a year the filing of the indictments in the Hariri case. According to the proposal, Arab and regional elements will use this time to tighten relations between Iran and Arab countries in order to maintain stability in Lebanon and promote a dialogue between Fatah and Hamas.


Meanwhile, a senior French source told London-based newspaper al-Hayat that the Hariri indictments will be filed even "if Hezbollah tries to take the government down." The source noted that the existing budget is sufficient to file an indictment.


'Resistance must stop Zionists'

Also this week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Tehran and welcomed the tightening of ties between Hariri and Nasrallah.


"As long as the Zionisrs continue to exist, Lebanon needs the forces of resistance led by Hezbollah which is supported by Iran," he said.


"If it could, the Zionist regime would have moved towards Beirut and Tripoli to encircle Syria. Resistance is the only means to stop the Zionist regime." Khamenei also stressed that internal divisions in Lebanon serve Israel's interests.


During their meeting, Hariri said Lebanon will not endorse sanctions on Iran and stated that Beirut supports Tehran's right to maintain nuclear technology for civilian purposes.



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