"When President Jacques Chirac came to Lebanon, he ignored completely the government, the president of the republic and everybody," Murad told state Tele-Liban television on Saturday.

"Then he came to accuse, help the opposition to escalate and encourage the opposition to escalate," he said.

Chirac demanded on Wednesday that "light be shed" on the murder of his friend al-Hariri before paying his respects at the graveside.

"The heinous crime, which seems to be from another era, which Rafiq al-Hariri was a victim of, has triggered the horror and consternation of the entire international community which now demands that light be shed in this indescribable and abominable act," Chirac said.

Huge loss

Al-Hariri was killed in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on Monday and France has called for an international inquiry.

"Rafiq al-Hariri held up the banner of democracy and freedom"

Jacques Chirac,
French president

Chirac said al-Hariri's death "is a huge loss for Lebanon and the world". "Rafiq al-Hariri held up the banner of democracy and freedom and pushed for the country's sovereignty and independence. I can testify to that," Chirac added.

After spending time with mourners at al-Hariri's mansion home, the French president visited the grave accompanied by his wife Bernadette and al-Hariri's widow, Nazik al-Hariri.

The Lebanese opposition, which has denounced the country's pro-Damascus government and Syria itself for the killing, called on Friday for a peaceful uprising for independence.

It demanded that the government resign and that an interim government be installed to oversee a Syrian withdrawal from the country it dominates.