Lebanon unwilling to harm Arab countries: Hariri

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has formally rescinded his resignation

Lebanon's prime minister said he would remain in office after governing partners pledged to stay out of neighboring conflicts, a month after his resignation threatened to drag the country deeper into the Middle East's major sectarian confrontation.

Lebanese officials say Saudi Arabia coerced Hariri, a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia, into resigning and held him there against his will until an intervention by France led to his return to Lebanon last week, however, Saudi Arabia denies the charge.

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

The Sunni prime minister, who has always been opposed to the Iran-backed Hezbollah, lambasted Iran for sowing discord in Lebanon through its Shia ally Hezbollah.

His resignation was seen as part of an intensifying power struggle between the Saudi kingdom - which had long backed Hariri - and its regional rival Iran, which backs the armed organisation Hezbollah.


"Any offence to the Lebanese prime minister is an offence to all Lebanese, even when he is our adversary", said Nasrallah.

Hezbollah has played a leading role in helping President Bashar al-Assad of Syria counter an insurgency that began with political protests almost seven years ago and morphed into a multi-sided war.

At the beginning of the session, President Michel Aoun said that Lebanon's unity during Hariri's absence was vital and enabled the country to get through the crisis.

Back in Beirut after a visit to France, Hariri made a decision to put his resignation on hold at the request of Aoun.

"The aim is to support the political process (in Lebanon) at a crucial moment", the French foreign ministry said, minutes after Hariri announced he had rescinded his resignation.

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