Lebanon's PM Hariri withdraws his resignation


Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday formally rescinded his resignation following a consensus deal reached with rival political parties.

The government will convene in an extraordinary session and will issue a statement afterward, resuming the country's normal political life.

"The Lebanese government, in all its political components, has committed to distance itself from all conflicts, wars, and internal affairs of Arab states", according to the cabinet statement read out by Hariri.

As for the necessary guarantees to implement the new statement, the sources said: "The President of the Republic is the main guarantor, and those who announced their consent shall commit to the settlement and respect his speech at the political and practical levels".

The Iran-backed Shiite militant group shares power in Lebanon's tenuously balanced coalition government with Hariri, who heads a predominantly Sunni political party, as well as President Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian.

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. Hezbollah also has men fighting for Shiite interests in Syria, Iraq and Yemen - placing it at at loggerheads with Sunni Saudi Arabia, which has been waging a regional cold war of competing interests with Iran.

Some Lebanese officials have said that Riyadh forced Hariri to tender his resignation, although Saudi Arabia has denied this.

Following French mediation to bring Hariri out of Saudi Arabia to Paris for a brief visit, he returned to Lebanon on November 21 and put the resignation on hold to allow for consultations. Despite the policy, Hezbollah became heavily involved there, sending thousands of fighters to help President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks after a cabinet meeting in Baabda near Beirut, Lebanon December 5, 2017.

His resignation offer thrust Lebanon back into a regional tussle between Riyadh and its main regional foe, Iran. His father, a former prime minister, was assassinated in 2005.

"Developments in the region suggest a new wave of conflict".

"If we are rejecting interference by any state in Lebanese affairs, it can not be that we accept that any Lebanese side interferes in the affairs of Arab states", he added. We must be convinced that interfering in the internal affairs of the Gulf States has serious repercussions on our situation and our interests. Western governments, including the United States, stressed their support for Hariri and Lebanon.