Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Beirut yesterday and “suspended” his resignation that he announced from Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.
After he left Saudi Arabia, Hariri spent the weekend in Paris, and stopped for talks in Egypt and Cyprus before arriving back in Beirut at around midnight on Tuesday, just in time for Lebanon’s Independence Day.
Hariri joined the ceremony and military parade for the Independence Day, appearing in public with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Hariri met privately with Aoun and said after the meeting that “today I presented my resignation to his excellency the President, and he urged me to temporarily suspend submitting it and to put it on hold ahead of further consultations on the reasons for it. I expressed my agreement to this request, in the hope that it will form a serious basis for a responsible dialogue”.
Hariri told supporters of his Future Movement in Sunni dominated central Beirut that “there is nothing more precious than our country. I am staying with you and will continue with you… to be a line of defence for Lebanon, Lebanon’s stability and Lebanon’s Arabism”.
While in Saudi Arabia, Hariri blamed Iran for meddling in the region, saying that Iran is “driven by a deep hatred for the Arab nation and strong desire to destroy it and control it, and unfortunately it has found among our fellow countrymen those who put their hands in its hands”.
On Tuesday the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Joseph Aoun, placed his troops on full preparedness instructing them to be “fully prepared on the southern border to confront the Israeli enemy’s threats and violations”.
On Monday the Arab League condemned Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, which it accused of supporting “terrorist groups” across the region. In response the Lebanese President defended Hezbollah, saying that “Lebanon was able to face the Israeli aggression since 1978 until the 2006 war. It was able to liberate its land. Israeli threats are still ongoing; the Lebanese have the right to fight and thwart it with all available means”