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Hariri will quit if Hezbollah doesn’t stay neutral

IANS | Beirut |


Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that he will resign if the Hezbollah resistance movement refuses to remain neutral in the country.

Hariri, in remarks to French broadcaster CNews, said on Monday that he would continue as Prime Minister “if Hezbollah accepted to stick by the state policy of staying out of regional conflicts from Syria to Iraq and Yemen”.

“They know we have to remain neutral in the region,” Hariri was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Hezbollah is an opponent of Hariri’s Saudi Arabia-backed Future Movement though it is also a member of Hariri’s coalition government.

Hariri announced his resignation on November 4 in Saudi Arabia, shocking Lebanon and plunging it into political uncertainty. He accused Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world, an allegation rejected by both sides.

Shortly afterwards, Lebanese President Michel Aoun accused Riyadh of kidnapping Hariri. The European Union, France and Germany also called on the Saudis for his return.

Hariri then travelled back to Lebanon and put his resignation on hold at Aoun’s request in favour of a national dialogue.

According to reports, Hariri had been forced to step down by the Kingdom over his failing to “confront” Hezbollah.

“Lebanon cannot resolve a question like Hezbollah which is in Syria, Iraq, everywhere because of Iran. It is a regional political solution that needs to be done,” Hariri said on Monday.

He also rejected claims that he had forcibly resigned. He said he had written his resignation statement himself, countering allegations that it has been handed to him.

The Prime Minister said he would keep to himself what happened in Saudi Arabia, implying that he did not feel free to expose what had actually transpired in the Kingdom.