I erred in blaming father`s murder on Syria: Lebanon PM

Rafiq Hariri was killed in a massive bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

Last Updated: Sep 06, 2010, 15:08 PM IST

Beirut: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in comments published on Monday that he erred in accusing Syria of the murder of his father, ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, in a 2005 bombing in Beirut.

"At some point, we made a mistake," Hariri told the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat. "At one stage, we accused Syria of assassinating the martyred premier.”

"That was a political accusation, and that political accusation is over," Hariri told the London-based newspaper.

"There is a (UN) court that is doing its job, and we for our part must reassess what happened," he said.

Rafiq Hariri was killed in a massive bombing in the Lebanese capital on February 14, 2005, that also claimed another 22 lives, at a time when Syria retained a tight grip over its smaller neighbour.

Saad Hariri and his allies pinned the blame on Damascus, which was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon that April ending a presence of nearly three decades.

Damascus has consistently denied any involvement in the assassination.

Since taking office as prime minister last year, the Western- and Saudi-backed Hariri has made three visits to the Syrian capital.

During his last visit in July, he signed 17 cooperation agreements and called for closer ties.

The United Nations set up the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2007 to find and try those behind the Hariri assassination.

Preliminary reports by a committee of The Hague-based tribunal concluded there was evidence implicating Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services in Hariri`s murder. But there are no suspects currently in custody.

PTI