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05 November 2017, 02:23 | Damon Campbell
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri Announces Sudden Resignation - Reports
Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri resigned from office Saturday in a surprise announcement that plunged the country's fragile politics into uncertainty.
"I declare my resignation from the premiership of the Lebanese government, with the certainty that the will of the Lebanese is strong", Hariri said.
Hariri's personal security concerns appeared to gain little traction among the public.
In the speech, which aired on Saudi television, Hariri said he feared for his life, describing the political atmosphere as similar to what it was in 2005, when his father, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a truck bomb attack in Beirut.
"The sudden resignation of Mr. Hariri and his statement in another country is not only "surprising" and "regrettable" but is also an indication of his playing a game designed by those who want ill for the region", Qassemi lamented.
"Iran has a grip on the fate of the region's countries..."
He accused Tehran of "sowing discord among the children of the same nation and creating a state within the state... to the extent that it gets the final say on how Lebanon's affairs are run".
Hariri blasted Iran's interference in the region, arguing that the "Islamic Republic has a desire to destroy the Arab world and has boasted of its control over the decisions of Arab capitals".
"Hezbollah was able to impose a reality in Lebanon by force of arms, and their intervention causes us great problems with our Arab allies", he said. The group initially aimed to end Israel's occupation of Southern Lebanon.
He served as prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and took office again in 2016.
He made his fortune in Saudi Arabia, where his son Saad was born.
Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The nation was without a cohesive government and leadership for almost two years.
The February 2005 assassination triggered political upheaval that led to Syria's military withdrawal from Lebanon.
He argued it was the latest manifestation of the tug-of-war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and called for intensifying diplomatic efforts to solve the feud.
Lebanese political analyst Hilal Khashan argued that Saudi Arabia had been piling the pressure on its protege lately and "summoned" him to Riyadh.
After his father's death, Hariri went on to the Future bloc (al-Mustaqbal), which draws its support mainly from the country's Sunni population, and which later formed alliances with other parties from across Lebanon's communal divide. "I thank all those who worked with me and placed their trust in me", Hariri added.
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