Hariri revokes resignation after consensus deal

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri attends a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace of Baabda, east of the capital Beirut, on Dec. 5, 2017. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
Updated 05 December 2017

Hariri revokes resignation after consensus deal

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has withdrawn his resignation, a month after his shock resignation announcement in Saudi Arabia.

Hariri's decision to rescind came after a consensus deal reached with rival political parties.

The announcement came at the end of the first Cabinet meeting since Lebanon was thrown into a political crisis after Hariri's stunning move a month ago.

The Cabinet assured in an emergency meeting "the commitment of the Lebanese government in all its political components to dissociate itself from any disputes, conflicts, wars or internal affairs of Arab countries in order to preserve Lebanon's political and economic relations with its Arab brothers."

The draft of the statement was agreed after numerous communications and meetings held quietly in the past few days, involving President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Hariri, Hezbollah and other parties.

In a statement, Hariri hoped that "the Cabinet meeting would present a new opportunity for solidarity to protect the country. We all can see how the region is boiling, and we should not have any illusions that any miscalculated step could lead the country down a dangerous path."

Hariri said in the statement: "I am the prime minister of Lebanon and today there is a death sentence against me in Syria, and Hezbollah has been classified as a terrorist (organization) in the Gulf countries. All I am saying is that we need to spare the country from getting involved in the regional conflicts and preserve our stability.”

He added: “However, this does not relieve us from realizing the current problem and the concerns of many brotherly countries, especially Gulf countries, which sent us many clear messages concerning interference in their internal affairs. This means that there is a problem which we cannot ignore, and which should not continue. Attacking the Gulf countries in the media and in politics threatens the interests of Lebanon, especially the Lebanese expatriates working in the Gulf."

Hariri stressed: “Our interest lies in the protection of our historical relations with Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf (countries), and depriving those who do not wish us well from a pretext to draw Lebanon into chaos."

Hariri noted that "we are not in the business of confirming Lebanon's Arabism. This is a settled issue, and the Taif agreement is as clear as the sun. But we want to send a message to our Arab brothers that Lebanon does not want to damage its relations Arab countries or harm any Arab country.

"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.

Minutes after Hariri's announcement, Paris said the Lebanese premier would attend talks on Friday in France on the situation in Lebanon, which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also attend.

"The aim is to support the political process (in Lebanon) at a crucial moment," the French Foreign Ministry said, according to Agency France-Presse. ”It will send a message both to the various parties in Lebanon and to countries in the region."​

Iraqi, Jordanian leaders join Egypt at Cairo summit

A handout photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on March 24, 2019 shows Jordan's King Abdullah II (L) and Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi (R) meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) at the presidential palace in the Egyptian capital Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 10 min 1 sec ago

Iraqi, Jordanian leaders join Egypt at Cairo summit

  • The statement stressed the importance of combating terrorism in all its forms and confronting those who support it by funding

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Adel Abdul Mahdi, the prime minister of Iraq, held a trilateral summit at the Federal Palace in Cairo at the weekend to discuss cooperation on a number of pressing regional issues.
While discussing energy, industrial development and infrastructure, the three leaders issued a joint statement stressing the importance of working with the rest of the Arab world to restore stability in, and find solutions to, ongoing crises in Palestine, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.
They expressed hope that the upcoming Arab League summit in Tunisia could provide a springboard for action on these conflicts, and that the assembled nations might agree a framework around which to share the burden of reconstructing the countries in question.
The statement also stressed the importance of combating terrorism in all its forms and confronting those who support it by funding, arming or providing safe havens and media platforms to political and religious extremists.
This came in the wake of the tragic attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a white supremacist gunman, and the declaration that the extremist group Daesh had relinquished control of its final territorial stronghold, the Syrian village of Baghouz, on Saturday.

Security issues
Amr Hashim Rabie, of Cairo’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said: “The summit came at an important time, especially as it dealt with a number of developmental, economic, political and security issues, most notably in combating terrorism.”
El-Sisi and Mahdi also agreed to restart bilateral committees between Cairo and Baghdad which had not been held since 2002, shortly before the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition.
Hossam Al-Omda, a member of Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed with Rabie that the timing of the trilateral summit was significant. He cited the escalating events currently underway in the region, especially in neighboring Syria, with the defeat of Daesh and US government recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and increasing tensions in Gaza.