PM Hariri urges Lebanese to put country first

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Updated 23 November 2017
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PM Hariri urges Lebanese to put country first

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Thursday that the political crisis in Lebanon this month was “a wake up call” for Lebanese with different loyalties to put their country ahead of regional issues.
Hariri was referring to the crisis ignited by his decision to resign earlier this month. He announced the shock resignation from Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy and regional powerhouse, which is locked in a tussle with Shiite Islamist Iran.
After returning to Lebanon this week, he shelved the decision on Wednesday at the request of President Michel Aoun.
“The period that passed was perhaps like a wake up call for all of us to look for Lebanon’s interests rather than looking at problems around us,” Hariri said at the Annual Arab Banking Conference in Beirut on Thursday. “The problems around us are important, but Lebanon is more important.”
Hariri also reaffirmed the need for Lebanon to stick by its policy of staying out of regional conflict — “not just with words but with action as well.”
His comments refer to the Iran-backed Hezbollah political and military movement, whose regional military role has greatly alarmed Saudi Arabia, Hariri’s long-time ally.
“I want to stress that ... our main concern is stability, and this is what we’ll be working on,” he said.
Hariri said on Wednesday his decision to postpone resigning would lead to “a responsible dialogue ... that deals with divisive issues and their repercussions on Lebanon’s relations with Arab brothers.”
Top Lebanese officials have said Riyadh forced him to quit and held him in the kingdom. Riyadh and Hariri deny this.
Hariri returned to Lebanon after an intervention by France.
A leader in Hariri’s Future Movement said on Thursday that Hariri’s decision to wait instead of officially resigning from his post was a “wise step” that will allow for more dialogue.


Turkish police detain 14 Daesh suspects before elections

Updated 31 min 27 sec ago
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Turkish police detain 14 Daesh suspects before elections

ANKARA: Turkish police detained 14 suspected Daesh members who were preparing an attack in Ankara ahead of this weekend’s elections, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Friday.
Counter-terror squad police in the capital swooped on various addresses in simultaneous raids and took the suspects, all foreign nationals, to police headquarters for questioning, the agency said.
Turks vote on Sunday in presidential and parliamentary elections that will trigger a change to a powerful presidential system.
Police in Turkey regularly carry out operations targeting the militant group.
Daesh has carried out numerous bombings across Turkey in recent years, including an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed and a bombing in the city’s historic heart that killed 12 in 2016.