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One month on, Lebanon’s PM rescinds shock resignation

2017-12-06 09:53:11
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BAABDA AFP Dec5, 2017-Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Tuesday that he had withdrawn his resignation, a month after his shock announcement that he was quitting sparked political upheaval.  


The announcement brought some respite to Lebanon, which had been gripped by fears of new political and economic instability in a country driven by deep divisions and caught up in regional rivalries.  


Minutes after Hariri’s announcement, Paris said the Lebanese premier would attend talks Friday in France on the situation in Lebanon, which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also attend.  


 “The council of ministers thanks the prime minister for rescinding his resignation,” Hariri said, reading from a cabinet statement issued after its first meeting since his return two weeks ago.  
Hariri announced he was stepping down on November 4 in a televised address from Saudi Arabia, a move widely seen as part of the boiling tensions between the Saudi kingdom -- a long-time Hariri backer -- and its regional rival Iran.  


In his resignation, Hariri lambasted Tehran and its Lebanese ally, the powerful armed movement Hezbollah, for destabilising his country and the Middle East.  


He later said he would consider coming back as premier if Hezbollah stopped intervening in regional conflicts, including the wars in Syria and Yemen.  


In recent days, consultations across the political spectrum have sought to find a compromise between the Saudi-backed camp led by Hariri, and Hezbollah’s Iran-backed bloc.  


On Tuesday, Lebanon’s cabinet, which includes both blocs, reaffirmed its official policy of “disassociation”, or remaining neutral in regional conflicts.

 


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