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Lebanese President Says PM Hariri Phoned to Resign From Riyadh

Lebanese President Says PM Hariri Phoned to Resign From RiyadhLebanese President Says PM Hariri Phoned to Resign From Riyadh

Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s office said on Saturday that Saad al-Hariri had phoned him “from outside Lebanon” to resign as the country’s prime minister and that Aoun awaited Hariri’s return to hear the “circumstances of the resignation”.

Saad Hariri resigned from his post Saturday during a trip to Saudi Arabia in a surprise move that plunged the country into uncertainty amid heightened regional tensions, AP reported.

In a televised address from Riyadh, Hariri criticized Iran and Hezbollah group for what he alleged was their meddling in Arab affairs. Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016 and headed a 30-member national unity cabinet that included Hezbollah. The government has largely succeeded in protecting the country from the effects of the civil war in neighboring Syria.

The country is sharply divided along a camp loyal to Saudi Arabia, headed by Hariri, and a camp loyal to Iran represented by Hezbollah. President Michel Aoun, who was elected in October 2016 after more than two years of presidential vacuum, is a close ally of Hezbollah.

His election was made possible after Hariri endorsed him for president, based on an understanding that Aoun would then appoint him as prime minister.

In his speech, he suggested he feared for his life and said the climate in the country is similar to the one that existed before his father, the late prime minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in 2005.

 

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