Lebanon's PM rescinds resignation as government agrees deal

Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Baabda east of Beirut

Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tuesday reiterated Lebanon's "Arab" identity, adding that it wasn't up for debate as he said the country was not in a position to harm its Arab regional neighbors.

Several media reports stated that the announcement came at the end of the first Cabinet meeting to be held since Lebanon plunged into a political crisis post Hariri's unexpected resignation.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has made it a priority to counter the growing regional influence of Iran.

Anxious to avoid a political crisis in such a time of tension, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who is a political ally of Hezbollah, had refused to accept Hariri's departure because it happened in "mysterious circumstances".

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"I presented today my resignation to President Aoun and he urged me to wait before offering it and to hold onto it for more dialogue about its reasons and political background, and I showed responsiveness", he said in a televised statement. Hariri quit his job in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia a month ago but later said he might withdraw the resignation, providing all parties in Lebanon's government agree to adhere to the state's policy of "dissociation" from regional conflicts.

French officials said the goal was to shore up Lebanese institutions, by strengthening the army and supporting Hariri's economic programme, with a view to encouraging foreign investment in the country. The prince was displeased with Mr. Hariri's leadership of a government that included Hezbollah, which has continued to gain new power and weaponry while intervening in the war in neighboring Syria.

Hariri, who heads a coalition government that includes ministers from the Hezbollah, said all members of the government had agreed to stay out of conflicts in Arab countries.

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