Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Lebanon unwilling to harm Arab countries: Hariri

Lebanon unwilling to harm Arab countries: Hariri

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Haririsaid on Tuesday that he was revoking his resignation after his surprise announcement that he was stepping down prompted a political crisis in the country.

The Lebanese have rallied around Hariri in what became an embarrassment for Saudi Arabia.

Hariri heads a coalition government which includes Hezbollah-affiliated ministers.

Hariri's planned departure was seen as the latest fallout from the proxy war between Sunni-majority Saudia Arabia and Shiite-majority Iran, who back different sides in Syria and Yemen's civil wars.

President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, refused to accept his resignation while he remained overseas. The prince was displeased with Mr. Hariri's leadership of a government that included Hezbollah, which has continued to gain new power and weaponry while intervening in the war in neighboring Syria. Despite the policy, Hezbollah is heavily involved there, sending thousands of fighters to help President Bashar al-Assad.

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".

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Lebanon, where Sunni Muslim, Shi'ite, Christian and Druze groups fought a civil war from 1975-1990, has a governing system created to share power among sectarian groups.

He then said he had rescinded his resignation.

In a speech during the cabinet session, Hariri warned that the tensions in the region could easily drag Lebanon down a risky route, and the issues which had led to the crisis could be ignored. Perhaps the conflict is nearing the end, and Lebanon can not be plunged into chaos on the finish line.

The Lebanese President had said at the time Hariri was being held against his will in Riyadh, a claim Hariri denied.

Hariri also announced that he will travel o Paris on Friday to meet with French diplomats and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for talks on the recent upheaval.

One reason for the alarm over the Saudi move to pressure Mr. Hariri was the danger that it could further destabilize Lebanon.

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