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Hariri with Geagea at Yarze Lowering Final Curtain on Civil Warfare

Naharnet 25 Jun 05

Saad Hariri visited Samir Geagea at his Yarze prison Saturday, a move that cemented the Christian-Muslim national unity generated by Rafik Hariri's assassination and lowered a final curtain on the lingering fallout of the nation's 1975-1990 civil war. The visit in the afternoon lasted 90 minutes. The exact time was withheld to the last minute obviously for Saad's personal security at a time Lebanon is rocked by a spate of assassinations that the opposition and the United States have squarely blamed on Syrian secret service cells left behind after the military evacuation of Lebanon in April. The young Hariri, whose Tayyar Al Mustaqbal Movement clinched alone 36 seats in Lebanon's newly elected parliament, discussed with Geagea the question of electing a parliament Speaker and naming a new prime minister. The LF is entering parliament for the first time with a six-member bloc headed by Geagea's wife Sitrida. The bloc was elected on coalition tickets with Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblat in the May-June elections, which gave Lebanon its first free-from-Syria parliament since civil war guns fell silent in 1990. Saad also assured Geagea that he would make certain the new parliament would pass as soonest a bill of parole that would ensure Geagea's unconditional release from 11 years and three months in the Defense Ministry jail in Yarze. Media reports say Geagea is certain to be freed in July and that Saad and Jumblat would be with Sitrida to greet him upon his release from Yarze and then take him in a motorcade to Beirut's downtown Martyrs Square to pay his respects at ex-Premier Hariri's graveside at the courtyard of Al Amin Mosque. Prominent figures of Qornet Shahwan, which is a major partner in the Hariri-Jumblat-Geagea alliance, will also be on hand for Geagea's welcome to freedom. Among them are Butros Harb, Nassib Lahoud, Naela Moawad, Fares Soaid, Carlos Edde and Gebran Tueni.