The Financial Express

Lebanese PM Hariri puts resignation on hold

| Updated: November 23, 2017 13:20:14

Saad al-Hariri talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Beirut on Wednesday. -Reuters Photo Saad al-Hariri talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Beirut on Wednesday. -Reuters Photo

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has announced Wednesday to put his resignation at the request of country's President Michel Aoun

Hariri's decision eased a crisis that had deepened tensions in the Middle East.

The Prime Minister returned to Beirut for the first time since he quit abruptly on November 4 in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia.

Top Lebanese officials have said Riyadh forced him to quit and held him in the kingdom. Riyadh and Hariri deny this.

Hariri said he hoped his move would lead to “a responsible dialogue...that deals with divisive issues and their repercussions on Lebanon’s relations with Arab brothers.”

Hariri said all Lebanese sides must commit to keeping the country out of regional conflicts, a reference to the Iran-backed Hezbollah political and military movement. Hezbollah’s regional military role has greatly alarmed Saudi Arabia, Hariri’s long-time ally.

“I presented today my resignation to President Aoun and he urged me to wait before offering it and to hold onto it for more dialogue about its reasons and political background, and I showed responsiveness,” he said in a televised statement.

According to Reuters, the resignation had shocked even Hariri’s aides. He returned to Lebanon late on Tuesday night after French intervention.

Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, had refused to accept the resignation because it happened in “mysterious circumstances” abroad. He had called Hariri a hostage in Riyadh.

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