Lebanon seeks 'stability' after shock PM resignation: president

 06 Nov 2017 - 14:42

Lebanon seeks 'stability' after shock PM resignation: president
Lebanese President Michel Aoun holds a meeting with ministers and security officials at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, November 6, 2017. Dalati Nohra

AFP

Beirut: Lebanon's president met with top national security officials on Monday, saying the country's political leadership was keen to maintain stability in the wake of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation.

Hariri announced he was leaving his post in a television broadcast on Saturday from Saudi Arabia, citing fears for his life and sparking concerns of a political fallout.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has sought to allay those fears.

"The political leadership's responsiveness to calls for calm strengthens stability and preserves national unity," Aoun said Monday.

He spoke after meeting senior national security officials, including army chief General Joseph Aoun, Defence Minister Yaacoub Sarraf, and Justice Minister Salim Jreissati.

"President Aoun will not take any unilateral decisions before meeting with PM Hariri," Jreissati said after the meeting, according to the presidency's office.

It was unclear when Hariri would return to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia, where he met King Salman on Monday.

Hariri is a two-time premier whose father Rafik held the same position for years and was assassinated in 2005.

In his televised resignation on Saturday, he accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of taking over his country and destabilising the broader region.

His statement sparked fears that Lebanon -- split into rival camps led by Hariri and powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah -- could once again descend into violence.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday that his party had not sought Hariri's resignation, which had instead been "imposed" on the premier by Saudi Arabia.

In a televised address, Nasrallah called for "calm, patience and waiting until the reasons become clear" for Hariri stepping aside.

Hezbollah ally and speaker of parliament Nabih Berri made a similar appeal on Sunday from Egypt, where he met with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Aoun spoke by phone on Sunday to Sisi and to Jordan's King Abdullah II, according to the presidency.