Lebanon seeks ‘stability’ after shock PM resignation: President
BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse
Lebanon’s president met with top national security officials yesterday, saying the country’s political leadership was keen to maintain stability in the wake of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation.
Hariri announced he was leaving his post in a television broadcast on Nov. 3 from Saudi Arabia, citing fears for his life and sparking concerns of a political fallout.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has sought to allay those fears.
“The political leadership’s responsiveness to calls for calm strengthens stability and preserves national unity,” Aoun said yesterday.
He spoke after meeting senior national security officials, including army chief General Joseph Aoun, Defence Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, and Justice Minister Salim Jreissati.
“President Aoun will not take any unilateral decisions before meeting with PM Hariri,” Jreissati said after the meeting, according to the presidency’s office.
It was unclear when Hariri would return to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia, where he met King Salman yesterday.
During the meeting, “they reviewed the situation in Lebanon”, said the state-run agency Saudi Press Agency.
The Saudi interior minister, foreign minister and minister of state for Arab and Gulf affairs were also in attendance.
Hariri is a two-time premier whose father Rafik held the same position for years and was assassinated in 2005.
In his televised resignation on Nov. 4, he accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of taking over his country and destabilizing the broader region.
His statement sparked fears that Lebanon -- split into rival camps led by Hariri and powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah -- could once again descend into violence.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Nov. 5 that his party had not sought Hariri’s resignation, which had instead been “imposed” on the premier by Saudi Arabia.
In a televised address, Nasrallah called for “calm, patience and waiting until the reasons become clear” for Hariri stepping aside.
Hezbollah ally and speaker of parliament Nabih Berri made a similar appeal on Nov. 5 from Egypt, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.