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Lebanon’s Hariri: From resignation to U-turn

December 5, 2017 2:58 PM
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Lebanon’s Hariri: From resignation to U-turn

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks after a cabinet meeting in Baabda near Beirut, Lebanon December 5, 2017. — Reuters picBEIRUT, Dec 5 — Events since the surprise announcement a month ago by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri that he was resigning, up to his U-turn today.

On November 4, Hariri announces from Saudi Arabia that he is resigning, citing Iran’s “grip” on Lebanon and threats to his life.

In a broadcast, he accuses Tehran of “creating a state within the state” and blasts its Lebanese Shiah ally Hezbollah.

On November 10, Lebanese President Michel Aoun expresses “concern” at Hariri’s situation. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah says Hariri was “detained” by Saudi Arabia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says Hariri is “free to move around”.

“I am free here. If I want to travel tomorrow, I will,” he says in an interview from Riyadh with his party’s Future TV.

French President Emmanuel Macron reiterates his wish that “Hariri can go to Lebanon”, during a meeting with Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

On November 15, Aoun accuses Saudi Arabia of having “detained” Hariri.

Le Drian on November 16 flies to Riyadh and meets Hariri, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insists he is free to leave the kingdom “when he pleases”.

Two weeks after announcing his resignation, Hariri leaves for France on November 18 with his wife. Two of his children remain in Riyadh.

He returns to Lebanon on November 21 for the first time since resigning, stopping in Egypt and Cyprus en route for talks with their presidents.

The next day, at Aoun’s request, he agrees to suspend his decision to quit pending talks on the political situation, including Hezbollah’s involvement in regional conflicts.

Hariri accuses the group of violating Lebanon’s policy of “disassociation” from regional conflicts by fighting alongside Syria’s government and assisting Huthi rebels in Yemen.

On November 27, Hariri says he wants to remain premier, but that his decision hangs on the discussions under way.

On November 30, he charges that the Syrian regime, which he blames for his father’s assassination in 2005, also wants him killed.


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