Lebanese PM ‘suspends’ resignation, in surprise reversal

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri walked back his resignation on Wednesday after weeks of intensive international diplomacy aimed at restoring the delicate political balance that has kept the country from being pulled apart by regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

At the presidential palace near Beirut, Hariri said he hoped his move would lead to “a responsible dialogue…that deals with divisive issues and their repercussions on Lebanon’s relations with Arab brothers.”

President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, had refused to accept the resignation because it happened in “mysterious circumstances” abroad. He had called Hariri a hostage in Riyadh.

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Hariri’s resignation was followed by a steep escalation in Saudi statements against the Lebanese government, which includes Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group. Riyadh said the government as a whole – not just Hezbollah – had declared war against it.

Hezbollah terror group leader Hassan Nasrallah, who had also called for Hariri’s return, said on Monday his terror group was open to “any dialogue and any discussion”.