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Lebanon’s PM rescinds resignation as government agrees deal

Lebanese officials said Saudi Arabia had coerced Hariri, a long-time ally of the kingdom, into resigning and held him there against his will until an intervention by France led to his return to Lebanon. Saudi Arabia denies this

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri rescinded his resignation on Tuesday and said all members of the government had agreed to stay out of conflicts in Arab countries.

Hariri quit his job in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia a month ago but later said he might withdraw the resignation, providing all parties in Lebanon’s government agree to adhere to the state’s policy of “dissociation” from regional conflicts.

The Lebanese government said in a statement read by Hariri: “The cabinet thanks its leader (Hariri) for his position and for revoking his resignation.”

“All (the government’s) political components decide to dissociate themselves from all conflicts, disputes, wars or the internal affairs of brother Arab countries, in order to preserve Lebanon’s economic and political relations,” Hariri said.

His resignation offer thrust Lebanon back into a regional tussle between Riyadh and its main regional foe, Iran.

Lebanese officials said Saudi Arabia had coerced Hariri, a long-time ally of the kingdom, into resigning and held him there against his will until an intervention by France led to his return to Lebanon. Saudi Arabia denies this.

Iran backs the powerful armed Shi’ite group, Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government and which Saudi Arabia accuses of sowing strife in the Arab world with support from Iran.

The cabinet meeting on Tuesday where the statement was agreed was the first since Hariri’s resignation plunged the country into political crisis.

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