The Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, has said he is suspending the resignation that he announced two weeks ago from Saudi Arabia, easing a crisis that had deepened tensions around the Middle East.
“Our nation today needs at this sensitive time exceptional efforts from everyone to protect it against danger,” Hariri said during independence day celebrations, having returned to Beirut late on Tuesday. “We must dissociate from wars, external struggles and regional conflicts.” The unusual nature of Hariri’s surprise resignation on 4 November prompted fears that he had been forced to leave office under the orders of his regional backers. It came against the backdrop of a regional power tussle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and renewed Saudi condemnation of Hezbollah, Hariri’s partners in government.
The postponement of his resignation will offer a brief respite for the Lebanese, who are struggling with the spillover from the war in Syria and a large refugee population in a country already rife with sectarian divisions. After his announcement, Hariri supporters marched through central Beirut, chanting “Saad” and waving the blue flag of his Future Movement political party.(theguardian)…[+]