Foe accuses Hariri of stirring conflict

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 13 (UPI) -- Lebanon's finance minister Wednesday denounced former Prime Minister Saad Hariri for vowing to topple the Cabinet, saying he risked religious conflict.

Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi, a former ally who serves in Prime Minister Najib Mikati's Hezbollah-backed government, said Hariri was "inciting sectarian sentiments" and putting Safadi's life at risk, The Daily Star of Beirut reported.


In a TV interview from his Paris home Tuesday, Hariri apologized to the northern city of Tripoli for running with Safadi in the 2009 election.

"I want to apologize for the young men and women in Tripoli. … I was betrayed by Mikati and Safadi," he said.

For the first time, Hariri openly blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah for his Cabinet's downfall Jan. 12.

The government fell over the U.N. investigation of the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Saad Hariri vowed Hezbollah would not be allowed to block the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which indicted four of its members in the crime June 30.

On July 2, Nasrallah scorned the tribunal as an American-Israeli court and said he would never turn over his followers.


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