Le­banon re­lieved by Hariri’s calm dec­la­ra­tions on live TV

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL - NA­JIA HOUSSARI

BEIRUT: The live TV ap­pear­ance and on Sun­day night of Saad Hariri, who re­signed as Le­banon’s prime min­is­ter on Nov. 4, has put the Le­banese peo­ple at ease.

Af­ter the in­ter­view, state­ments made by Hariri’s ad­ver­saries about his be­ing un­der “house ar­rest” were re­futed and re­placed by state­ments wel­com­ing his stances and an­tic­i­pat­ing his re­turn, which he promised would be “in two days.”

“They tried to dis­par­age Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion by fo­cus­ing on the way he re­signed and dis­tract­ing ev­ery­one from his de­mand to main­tain Le­banon’s self­dis­tanc­ing pol­icy and keep the coun­try out of Arab con­flicts,” An­toine Zahra, mem­ber of the Le­banese Forces’ par­lia­men­tary bloc, told Arab News.

“They also slammed the Le­banese Forces for sup­port­ing Hariri,” he added.

“It turned out that Hariri, who tol­er­ated the in­tol­er­a­ble, is look­ing for ways to en­sure the po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment’s suc­cess while his ad­ver­saries ex­ploit it to get Le­banon fur­ther in­volved in the re­gion’s con­flicts.”

Zahra de­scribed what hap­pened through the cam­paign against Saudi Ara­bia as “bury­ing one’s head in the sand.”

He said: “In a tone dif­fer­ent from the one he used in his res­ig­na­tion state­ment, Hariri said he was keen to achieve a set­tle­ment but it re­quired two par­ties, and that he had put per­sonal ef­forts into it and en­dured con­tin­u­ous per­sonal at­tacks as well as on the set­tle­ment which would lead Le­banon to a deadly phase. How can Hezbol­lah’s hos­til­ity to­ward the rest of the Arab world be coated? Hezbol­lah is pun­ish­ing the Le­banese peo­ple by mea­sures that are, at the least, chok­ing the coun­try’s econ­omy.”

“There are no con­sti­tu­tional re­stric­tions on Al-Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion from abroad,” he ex­plained, and then asked: “Do the min­is­ters’ res­ig­na­tions from Ra­bieh (Pres­i­dent Aoun’s for­mer res­i­dence when he was head of the Free Pa­tri­otic Move­ment) count as con­sti­tu­tional while Al-Hariri’s doesn’t?”

Zahra pre­dicts that Hariri will be re­as­signed upon form­ing the next gov­ern­ment be­cause “po­lit­i­cal pow­ers have no other can­di­date to ne­go­ti­ate re-set­tle­ment on its orig­i­nal ba­sis af­ter the new man­date.”

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the me­dia of­fice at Baabda Palace, Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun com­mented on re­marks made by Hariri, which in­di­cated that the po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment still stands and that he has the op­tion of re­tract­ing his res­ig­na­tion. “I am pleased that Al-Hariri will re­turn soon to Le­banon and I’ll be wait­ing to dis­cuss with him the rea­sons be­hind his res­ig­na­tion, the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing it and other topics of con­cern that need to be ad­dressed,” he said.

Aoun also hailed the co­her­ence be­tween the Le­banese peo­ple, “which has pro­tected na­tional unity and proved to the rest of the world that Le­banon is a sov­er­eign and in­de­pen­dent coun­try.”

Le­banon’s po­lit­i­cal au­thor­i­ties were quick to com­ment on Hariri’s state­ments through tweets that ex­pressed how they eagerly an­tic­i­pated his re­turn to Le­banon.

Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Le­banese Par­lia­ment, said: “There is jus­tice in the re­trac­tion of Hariri’s res­ig­na­tion.”

Walid Jum­blatt, head of the Demo­cratic Gath­er­ing bloc, said: “De­spite all the dif­fi­cul­ties, ob­sta­cles and pit­falls, Sheikh Saad will al­ways be the man of the set­tle­ment, the man of di­a­logue, and the man of the state.”

Samir Geagea, leader of the Le­banese Forces party, said the po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment could still be saved if the gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to its self-dis­tanc­ing pol­icy and if Hezbol­lah with­drew from Syria and from re­gional con­flicts.

The State Min­is­ter for Com­bat­ing Cor­rup­tion, Ni­co­las Tueni, said Al-Hariri’s praise of the pres­i­dent and his stances, his com­mit­ment to find­ing a con­sti­tu­tional so­lu­tion with the pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­tract­ing his res­ig­na­tion, and his firm stand for the po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment were all ev­i­dence that na­tional con­sen­sus and broth­erly unity in Le­banon had tri­umphed.

Talal Arslan, leader of the Le­banese Demo­cratic Party and an ally of Hezbol­lah, said: “Hariri’s in­ter­view boosted my be­lief in the ne­ces­sity of in­sist­ing on his re­turn to Le­banon. I salute him and would like to tell him that his pro­tec­tion and the pro­tec­tion of his fam­ily are as im­por­tant as the pro­tec­tion of Le­banon, its peo­ple, its unity, and its dig­nity.”

MP Ibrahim Kanaan, sec­re­tary of the Change and Re­form bloc, which is an ally of Hezbol­lah, de­scribed Hariri’s re­turn as “the key to all po­lit­i­cal op­tions and con­sti­tu­tional so­lu­tions.”

The Grand Mufti of Le­banon, Sheikh Ab­dul Latif De­rian, con­tin­ued to re­ceive fig­ures in sol­i­dar­ity with Hariri in Dar Al-Fatwa.

He told his visi­tors that he felt re­lieved af­ter lis­ten­ing to Hariri’s live in­ter­view in his sec­ond coun­try, Saudi Ara­bia, dur­ing which he re­futed all ru­mors and in­ter­pre­ta­tions that had spread in Le­banon and the world and said he was with his fam­ily and broth­ers in Riyadh.

Le­banon's Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri

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