Lebanon's Hariri rescinds resignation, drawing line under crisis

World powers push Saudis Iran to stop interfering in Lebanon

Lebanon's Hariri rescinds resignation, drawing line under crisis

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said world powers had endorsed Lebanon's policy of "disassociation" from regional conflicts, and he said that it should "apply to everyone - inside and outside" the country.

The International Lebanon Support Group, a body that includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States - met in Paris on December 8 with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in an effort to help him shore up the nation's shaky governing coalition.

Hariri said the fragile stability enjoyed by his country, which neighbours Syria, "appeared like a small miracle" in a region torn by the Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni conflicts.

Hariri, a wealthy Sunni businessman with long ties to the kingdom, had denounced Iran during his resignation speech and said he was outside Lebanon because he feared for his family's safety.

A Lebanese source close to Hariri said that the premier travelled to Riyadh believing he was going to discuss economic projects but instead "found himself faced with a list of economic sanctions brandished by the Saudis against Lebanon".

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He called for investment in Lebanon, support for its security services, and a resolution to the refugee question that has dominated domestic politics since 2012.

Hariri set off a crisis in the nation last month when he announced he was resigning while on a trip to Saudi Arabia, saying he feared assassination and laying the blame on Iran and Hizballah.

In its first meeting since Hariri's resignation, the cabinet on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to the policy.

Macron then intervened, inviting Hariri to Paris for talks, after which he returned home to a hero's welcome.

"The worldwide community is validating a return to normal for Hariri", he said from CERMAM's Geneva headquarters. "It is so for the entire region, already very affected by the violence of conflicts".

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Hariri says Lebanon has been able to weather its crisis thanks to its global partners and that the country's many parties affirmed their "commitment to dissociation from regional conflicts". "Recent events showed that the involvement of Lebanese militias in the conflicts that are damaging the Mideast can not continue without exposing Lebanon, and all its parties, to collateral damage".

French President Emmanuel Macron says all Lebanese factions must commit to a policy of dissociation and foreign powers should respect the country's sovereignty and unity.

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After brief opening statements to the media on Friday, the dignitaries retreated to an ornate, gold-trimmed room for discussions. Hariri shook hands with Tillerson as reporters were allowed in briefly for the start of the meeting.

Tillerson did not respond when a reporter asked about the message he's delivering to Lebanon.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discusses President Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She said he would also encourage other nations to do more to constrain Hezbollah and argue that doing so will lead to a "stronger, more stable Lebanon".

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