Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with US Ambassador to Lebanon Lisa Johnson on Tuesday as part of his encounters with foreign diplomats and Lebanese officials on the eve of the 19th commemoration of the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, on February 14, 2005.
Johnson described the 45-minute-long meeting at Beit al-Wasat (House of the Center) as “excellent.” She refrained from giving any details on the topics that were discussed.
Hariri also met with Egyptian Ambassador Alaa Moussa who said, while replying to a press question, that “it’s up to president Hariri to decide whether to resume his political activities or no.”
Those two meetings are considered significant, since both diplomats are representatives of states that are part of the Quintet (France, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar) in charge of finding a solution to the presidential deadlock.
Later on Tuesday, the Mufti of the Republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, led a delegation of clerics to Hariri’s residence after paying tribute at Hariri’s mausoleum in Beirut’s central district.
“We, along with the whole Lebanese society, expect Saad Hariri, who carries his father’s message and is entrusted with its execution, to continue the process, one of integrity and reform, and of construction and restoration for the general national good,” the mufti declared while visiting Rafic Hariri’s grave.
Several political, diplomatic, security, spiritual and civil figures gathered at Rafic Hariri’s shrine, including caretaker Minister of Interior Bassam Mawlawi, who laid a wreath at Hariri’s tomb.
Caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, also visited Rafic Hariri’s grave, declaring that “We are guided by the message he (Hariri) left, which emphasizes attachment to the homeland and to principles.”
In an interview with MTV, Mawlawi said that Rafic Hariri’s approach was one of construction, reconstruction and legitimacy, and his martyrdom united the Lebanese around the idea of building a state.
In the afternoon, MP Alain Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), a political foe of Hariri during his tenure as prime minister, is scheduled to visit him at Beit al-Wasat.
The Sunni leader, and head of the Future movement, arrived in Beirut on Sunday evening for the commemoration of his father who was killed with 22 others in a massive explosion, 19 years ago. But his busy schedule gave rise to much speculation about his possible return to political life, which he suspended in January 2022.