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» 02/15/2005
Patriarch and Vatican's nuncio offer their condolences to Hariri's family
Maronite bishops to hold an extraordinary synod tomorrow on the country's dramatic situation after Hariri's assassination. Newspapers published photos of former p.m. with John Paul II.

Beirut (AsiaNews) -  Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir and apostolic nuncio Archbishop Luigi Gatti visited the Hariri family today to offer their condolences for the death of the former, Sunni prime minister, killed yesterday by a car-bomb explosion.

In a statement released earlier today, Patriarch Sfeir said: "This crime goes against our traditions, and Hariri's death goes to the exclusive advantage of Lebanon's enemies.  The Maronite Church shares in the family's mourning, and shall not forget the important role played by Hariri in national politics. His legacy will be kept alive in Lebanon's memory."

The patriarch has convoked for tomorrow an extraordinary synod of Maronite bishops, at Bkerke: the bishops' meeting will be on the social implications of yesterday's terrorist attack.

The Vatican's nuncio, Msgr Luigi Gatti, also went today to the Hariri home, located in the central area of Beirut west, accompanied by Archeparch Gregorios III Laham, Greek-Melkite patriarch of Damascus. Msgr Gatti has always been very close to the Hariri family. The late Rafic Hariri himself had maintained close ties with the Christian world and the Vatican. Photos of Hariri with the Pope were published on the front-page of various Lebanese newspapers today.

Hariri died at the age of 60. He had resigned last October 20th, after weeks of tension and a political impasse related to a constitutional amendment, considered to be the result of Syrian pression, which extended President Emile Lahoud's mandate.

Currently, many segments of the population in Lebanon are accusing Syria of being behind Hariri's assassination. However, pro-Syria Interior Minister Suleiman Franjiyeh countered these interpretations, saying today in a press conference that "Hariri was not part of the block opposing Lahoud and Syria". According to Franjiyeh, Hariri was close to the opposition but was not an opponent, and had a "strategic, not tactical, problem" vis-à-vis the current government.

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See also
04/02/2005 LEBANON - VATICAN
People put aside their problems, pray for pope
09/24/2004 LEBANON - syria
It is time Syria let Lebanon be sovereign, Cardinal Sfeir says
04/11/2005 IRAQ - VATICAN
Pope, example of humility to Iraqi Christians
02/16/2005 LEBANON - SYRIA
A freedom-crushing regime behind Hariri's assassination, Lebanese Bishops say
04/05/2005 SYRIA - VATICAN
Pope like a new John the Baptist, says Patriarch of Damascus
lebanon - syria
Dozens of Lebanese political prisoners still held in Syrian jails
Decisive next 48 hours
Lebanese government dismisses UN report on Hariri killing
Sfeir calls for a government that would prepare the elections and work for reconciliation
We want a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon, says Patriarch Sfeir
Cardinal Sfeir: full sovereignty for Beirut, but demonstrations are worrisome
Christian-Sunni opposition rejects new pro-Syrian government
Opposition backed by Patriarch Sfeir meets
New government caught between opposing demonstrations
Lebanon has a right to sovereignty, says Patriarch Sfeir
Syria is to start redeploying its troops in Lebanon today, not to withdraw
Lebanon becomes once again a model for the Middle East
Russia and US press Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon
Lebanese bishops call for interim government, urge unity
People power sinks Karami government
Syria out, say Lebanese Christians and Muslims
Anti-Syrian demonstration defies government ban
Dialogue between opposition and pro-Syrian faction urgent, says Maronite Patriarch
Maronite Patriarch says Syria should withdraw in a situation of calm and dialogue
Papal telegram to Patriarch Sfeir for Rafik Hariri's death
After Hariri's death, US official invites Patriarch Sfeir to the US
A freedom-crushing regime behind Hariri's assassination, Lebanese Bishops say
Car bomb kills Lebanon's former Prime Minister

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