Lebanon relieved by Hariri’s calm declarations on live TV

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri
Updated 14 November 2017
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Lebanon relieved by Hariri’s calm declarations on live TV

BEIRUT: The live TV appearance and on Sunday night of Saad Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister on Nov. 4, has put the Lebanese people at ease.
After the interview, statements made by Hariri’s adversaries about his being under “house arrest” were refuted and replaced by statements welcoming his stances and anticipating his return, which he promised would be “in two days.”
“They tried to disparage Hariri’s resignation by focusing on the way he resigned and distracting everyone from his demand to maintain Lebanon’s self-distancing policy and keep the country out of Arab conflicts,” Antoine Zahra, member of the Lebanese Forces’ parliamentary bloc, told Arab News.
“They also slammed the Lebanese Forces for supporting Hariri,” he added.
“It turned out that Hariri, who tolerated the intolerable, is looking for ways to ensure the political settlement’s success while his adversaries exploit it to get Lebanon further involved in the region’s conflicts.”
Zahra described what happened through the campaign against Saudi Arabia as “burying one’s head in the sand.”
He said: “In a tone different from the one he used in his resignation statement, Hariri said he was keen to achieve a settlement but it required two parties, and that he had put personal efforts into it and endured continuous personal attacks as well as on the settlement which would lead Lebanon to a deadly phase. How can Hezbollah’s hostility toward the rest of the Arab world be coated? Hezbollah is punishing the Lebanese people by measures that are, at the least, choking the country’s economy.”
“There are no constitutional restrictions on Al-Hariri’s resignation from abroad,” he explained, and then asked: “Do the ministers’ resignations from Rabieh (President Aoun’s former residence when he was head of the Free Patriotic Movement) count as constitutional while Al-Hariri’s doesn’t?”
Zahra predicts that Hariri will be re-assigned upon forming the next government because “political powers have no other candidate to negotiate re-settlement on its original basis after the new mandate.”
According to a statement released by the media office at Baabda Palace, President Michel Aoun commented on remarks made by Hariri, which indicated that the political settlement still stands and that he has the option of retracting his resignation. “I am pleased that Al-Hariri will return soon to Lebanon and I’ll be waiting to discuss with him the reasons behind his resignation, the circumstances surrounding it and other topics of concern that need to be addressed,” he said.
Aoun also hailed the coherence between the Lebanese people, “which has protected national unity and proved to the rest of the world that Lebanon is a sovereign and independent country.”
Lebanon’s political authorities were quick to comment on Hariri’s statements through tweets that expressed how they eagerly anticipated his return to Lebanon.
Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, said: “There is justice in the retraction of Hariri’s resignation.”
Walid Jumblatt, head of the Democratic Gathering bloc, said: “Despite all the difficulties, obstacles and pitfalls, Sheikh Saad will always be the man of the settlement, the man of dialogue, and the man of the state.”
Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces party, said the political settlement could still be saved if the government committed to its self-distancing policy and if Hezbollah withdrew from Syria and from regional conflicts.
The State Minister for Combating Corruption, Nicolas Tueni, said Al-Hariri’s praise of the president and his stances, his commitment to finding a constitutional solution with the president, including the possibility of retracting his resignation, and his firm stand for the political settlement were all evidence that national consensus and brotherly unity in Lebanon had triumphed.
Talal Arslan, leader of the Lebanese Democratic Party and an ally of Hezbollah, said: “Hariri’s interview boosted my belief in the necessity of insisting on his return to Lebanon. I salute him and would like to tell him that his protection and the protection of his family are as important as the protection of Lebanon, its people, its unity, and its dignity.”
MP Ibrahim Kanaan, secretary of the Change and Reform bloc, which is an ally of Hezbollah, described Hariri’s return as “the key to all political options and constitutional solutions.”
The Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, continued to receive figures in solidarity with Hariri in Dar Al-Fatwa.
He told his visitors that he felt relieved after listening to Hariri’s live interview in his second country, Saudi Arabia, during which he refuted all rumors and interpretations that had spread in Lebanon and the world and said he was with his family and brothers in Riyadh.


Iranian FM lands in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart

Updated 16 min 1 sec ago
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Iranian FM lands in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart

  • During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister
  • Discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries

BAGHDAD: Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with his Iraqi counterpart, an Arab News reporter confirmed.

During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister. On Sunday morning, Zarif will meet several senior politicians before he heads to Najaf to meet some clerics, sources told Arab News.

The discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries in addition to possible options to reinforce the attempts to start dialogues with the related sides to reach a compromise or solutions for the current standoff between Iran and US.

The Iranian official will leave Iraq on Monday.

More to follow...