Lebanon's Prime Minister: 'I Am Free'

Saad Hariri says he will return to Lebanon 'in days'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2017 2:20 PM CST
Lebanon's Prime Minister: 'I Am Free'
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a joint news conference with President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said his resignation was his decision, dismissing reports he was forced to quit a unity government with his rival Hezbollah militant group. Speaking from Saudi Arabia Sunday in a live interview to his station Future TV, Hariri held back tears. "I am free," he told the interviewer. He said he decided to resign to save the country from imminent danger, the AP reports. Hariri said he will return to Lebanon "very soon," ''in days," and that his resignation was designed to "cause a positive shock" in the country. He warned that Iranian interference is ruining relations with other Arab countries and that he "can't be the only one making concessions while the others do whatever they want."

Hariri added that Saudi Arabia, his ally, wants Lebanon to stay clear of regional conflicts, and not to side with Iran. He said that withdrawing his resignation is conditional on Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah committing to remaining neutral on regional conflicts. Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to Syria, Lebanon's neighbor, to support the forces of Syria's President Bashar Assad. Hariri said the unity government he formed a year ago was supposed to stick to an agreement not to interfere in regional affairs. He said Hezbollah has not kept up its end of the deal. "We are in the eye of the storm," he said.

(More Lebanon stories.)

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