LEBANESE PRESIDENT WON'T ACCEPT PM'S RESIGNATION UNTIL HE RETURNS | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


LEBANESE PRESIDENT WON'T ACCEPT PM'S RESIGNATION UNTIL HE RETURNS

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned on television while visiting Saudi-Arabia, leaving the validity of his abdication unclear.

Lebanon's president will not accept the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri until he returns to Lebanon, palace sources said on Sunday, delaying for now politically difficult consultations on his successor.

Hariri left Lebanon for Saudi Arabia on Friday and resigned on Saturday in a televised statement that took the Lebanese political establishment by surprise.

A resignation would thrust Lebanon back into the arena of regional rivalry between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, an ally of Hariri, and Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which backs Hezbollah.

President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, will wait to accept or reject Hariri's resignation until he returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons, sources at the presidential palace said.

Lebanon's president will not accept the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri until he returns to Lebanon, palace sources said on Sunday, delaying for now politically difficult consultations on his successor.

Hariri left Lebanon for Saudi Arabia on Friday and resigned on Saturday in a televised statement that took the Lebanese political establishment by surprise.

He cited an assassination plot against him and criticized the regional role of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, however Lebanon's army said on Sunday it had not uncovered any plot.

A resignation would thrust Lebanon back into the arena of regional rivalry between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, an ally of Hariri, and Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which backs Hezbollah.

President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, will wait to accept or reject Hariri's resignation until he returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons, sources at the presidential palace said.

Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat cited unnamed sources close to Hariri as speculating that he would probably remain outside Lebanon because of the security threat against him.

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh sought to calm fears the political turmoil unleashed by Hariri's bid to resign would hit Lebanon's already fragile economy, issuing a statement to reaffirm the stability of its currency, which is pegged against the US dollar.

In Lebanon's sectarian system the president must be a Maronite Catholic, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of parliament a Shi'ite. Hariri is Lebanon's most influential Sunni politician.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

At this point, Lebanes President Ayoun has to consider the very real possibility that Harrari will not return to Lebanon, because he feels his life is at risk, should he do so.

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