Lebanon’s PM Saad Hariri puts resignation on hold

Beirut: In a quick reversal which may embarrass Saudi Arabia, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri put his resignation on hold for more talks to end the political crisis and tackle the dangers and challenges facing the nation.

Saudi Arabia is said to have pressured Hariri to resign during his visit there three weeks back to create political chaos leading to the fall of the Lebanese government, a charge that he denies.

When he met President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace on Wednesday and presented his resignation, Aoun urged him to take more time for talks.

The nation is facing dangers and challenges and the situation calls for concerted efforts to defend it, Hariri said.

Hariri’s reversal is a blow to Saudi crown prince who was trying to create a political crisis in Lebanon to score over Iran and Hariri’s coalition partner Hezbollah.

Hariri told media he is not quitting now as he sees positive developments in the government. He did not elaborate.

Later, addressing a large gathering of cheering supporters at his home, Hariri said he is going to stay with them.

Alluding to Hezbollah, he said Lebanon has to remain neutral as its neighbors Saudi Arabia and Iran are trying to make it their ground for proxy wars. He stressed the need to maintain warm ties with all Arab neighbors.