Today American Ambassador David Hale visited the grave of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his assassination. The Ambassador also paid his respects to Minister Mohammad Chatah, Major General Wissam al-Hassan, and the other individuals buried at the site.
Below is Ambassador Hale’s statement following his visit.
I first met with Prime Minister Hariri in 1988. I was a very junior diplomat and I was part of a delegation that met with him in Damascus. I worked more closely with him in the nineties. I came back and was assigned to Lebanon on two occasions. I had the opportunity to see him more closely, and I was always struck by how accessible Rafik Hariri was, even to a young diplomat like myself, but more importantly to the Lebanese people, and I saw firsthand what a remarkable man he was.
He was a great benefactor and the legacy he has left in terms of generosity in educating generations of Lebanese was really quite remarkable. He also was a remarkable visionary of a prosperous, and stable, and independent Lebanon. Those of Lebanon and Lebanon’s friend need to continue to work on that legacy, even today.
I think as we reflect this weekend on the loss of Rafik Hariri and his fellow comrades, it is important to celebrate their legacy, but also to renew our demand for justice and for accountability for these crimes, crimes that were not just crimes against individuals, but also against the state of Lebanon.