After returning to Lebanon this week, Saad Hariri shelved his decision to resign as Lebanon’s Prime Minister at the request of President Michel Aoun, but would resign if Hezbollah refuses to accept changes to the current status quo. Aoun has begun two-day consultations with the country’s political leaders over the government’s future and Lebanon’s commitment to keeping itself away from regional conflicts.
On November 27, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has warned Hezbollah against interfering in regional conflicts, saying he postponed his resignation to discuss ways to disassociate Lebanon from wars in neighbouring countries. He said he would remain Prime Minister “if Hezbollah accepted to stick by the state policy of staying out of regional conflicts from Syria to Iraq and Yemen”.
“I don’t want a political party in my government that interferes in Arab countries against other Arab countries,” Hariri said. “I am waiting for the neutrality which we agreed on in the government,” he added. “One can’t say one thing and do something else.”
“Lebanon cannot resolve a question like Hezbollah which is in Syria, Iraq, everywhere because of Iran. It is a regional political solution that needs to be done,” Hariri said.
A senior Lebanese official said the consultations at the presidential palace in Baabda aimed to help Hariri’s government “get back on its feet”, after weeks of political instability triggered by Hariri’s November 4 resignation, announced in Riyadh. Hariri’s abrupt resignation while he was in Saudi Arabia and his continued stay there caused fears over Lebanon’s stability and thrust it into the bitter rivalry between Riyadh and Iran, with the former backing the Yemeni government, and the latter backing the Houthi rebels, who are now in control of the country’s capital Sanaa.
Shortly afterwards, Lebanese top officials accused Riyadh of kidnapping Hariri. Hariri then travelled back to Lebanon and put his resignation on hold at Aoun’s request in favour of a national dialogue. He also rejected claims that he had forcibly resigned.