Lebanon premier Saad Hariri rescinds shock resignation

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has formally rescinded his resignation

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has formally rescinded his resignation

The Central News Agency quoted political sources as saying that France has stepped up its measures to end the crisis, as President Emmanuel Macron dispatched to Iran the head of France's foreign intelligence service, Bernard Emie, who met with a number of Iranian officials and discussed with them the expected settlement, and the need to show Tehran's approval and flexibility, paving the way for Hezbollah's withdrawal from Arab conflict zones.

Reaffirming that policy of neutrality - first issued in 2012 - had been a priority for Hariri, whose perplexing statement of resignation last month specifically criticized Hezbollah for interfering in neighboring nations' affairs. Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia and may be back in Beirut next week, seeking to dispel fears that he had been held against his will and forced to resign by Saudi authorities. Hariri, however, who is friendlier towards Saudi Arabia and has sent his children to school there, has a darker history with the group - his father, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, was killed in a bombing blamed on Hezbollah in 2005. Saudi Arabia and Hariri have denied this.

In a subsequent television interview, Hariri said rescinding his resignation hinged on whether Hezbollah agreed to remain neutral in regional conflicts.

Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury said he expected the Cabinet to meet in the next two days to resuscitate a political settlement that led to Aoun's election as president and brought Hariri back to the premiership previous year.

President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, refused to accept his resignation while he remained overseas.

Chance of Rain Late Tuesday
Wednesday could well be one of those "upside-down" temperature days, when the mornings are warmer than the afternoons. Once the cold front passes Tuesday morning, our high temperature will likely be very close to our low temperature.

It was only after he finally returned that, in another dramatic twist, Hariri provisionally suspended his resignation on condition that Lebanon more closely examine the considerable role played by Hezbollah - and, in turn, the group's Iranian backers.

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 cannot be ignored.

"We have to address this issue, and take a decision announcing our disassociation, in words and deeds".

Hariri's resignation was accompanied by a sharp escalation in Saudi statements targeting the Lebanese state, with Riyadh at one point accusing the Beirut government of declaring war against it.

Before leaving Riyadh, Hariri said Lebanon was at risk of Gulf Arab sanctions because of Hezbollah's regional meddling.

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