French FM in Beirut over Hariri case
The French foreign minister has arrived in Beirut to discuss political tension in Lebanon over the UN tribunal probing former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's assassination, Press TV reported.
"The visit is an occasion to reiterate French support for the Lebanese authorities and cabinet headed by [Prime Minister Saad] Hariri," Bernard Kouchner was quoted as saying upon arrival on Friday.
During his two-day visit, the French foreign minister will meet with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri - the son of Rafiq, the slain former premier -- and House Speaker Nabih Berri, as well as other Lebanese officials, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Kouchner's visit comes as there are reports suggesting that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is close to announcing its findings. France is a staunch backer of the STL.
According to unconfirmed reports, the UN tribunal plans to charge some members of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement in connection with the assassination of Hariri, who was killed in a massive car bomb explosion on February 14, 2005 along with 22 others.
Hezbollah has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing and has described the tribunal as an "Israeli project" trying to undermine the movement.
Hezbollah also accuses the tribunal of basing its investigations on testimonies provided by "false witnesses."
On August 9, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind the Hariri assassination and during a press conference showed several clips of aerial views of various areas in Lebanon that he alleged were intercepted from unmanned Israeli surveillance drones.
The clips included footage of several sites in Lebanon that also show the area where Hariri was assassinated, but were not from the same year.
During the press conference, Hezbollah's al-Manar television showed pictures of various people that the movement claimed were "Israeli spies" captured by the Lebanese authorities in 2010.
Nasrallah said the alleged spies were monitoring the movements of various Lebanese leaders from various political factions.