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Lebanese Prime Minister Revokes Resignation Amid Consensus Deal With Rivals

06 December 2017
Lebanese Prime Minister Revokes Resignation Amid Consensus Deal With Rivals

The Lebanese government is finalizing a new statement that is expected to close the file of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation and stress the policy of dissociation from regional conflicts.

Mr. Hariri said in a brief statement after a cabinet meeting Tuesday that the government had recommitted to dissociate "from any dispute and conflicts or wars, and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Arab states, in order to preserve the relationship between Lebanon and its Arab brethren".

Anxious to avoid a political crisis in such a time of tension, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who is a political ally of Hezbollah, had refused to accept Hariri's departure because it happened in "mysterious circumstances".

"The aim is to support the political process (in Lebanon) at a crucial moment", the French foreign ministry said, minutes after Hariri announced he had rescinded his resignation.

His resignation was seen as part of an intensifying power struggle between the Saudi kingdom - which had long backed Hariri - and its regional rival Iran, which backs the armed organisation Hezbollah.

Hariri announced his surprise resignation last month in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia, citing Hezbollah's alleged meddling in regional affairs as the main reason for his decision.

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shiite political and militant movement, accused Riyadh of "blatant interference" in Lebanese politics, adding that Hariri's "forced" decision to step down was unconstitutional.

The government will convene in an extraordinary session and will issue a statement afterward, resuming the country's normal political life.

Hariri, who heads a coalition government that includes ministers from the Hezbollah, said all members of the government had agreed to stay out of conflicts in Arab countries.