Lebanese President Michel Aoun is still committed to his refusal to approve the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri until his return to Beirut as various Lebanese officials have started to demand that attention be turned to the issue of “Hezbollah”, its arms and role in the region.
Aoun continued on Friday his series of consultations with Arab ambassadors and the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, presenting them with his country’s stance on the latest developments.
He also criticized the way in which Hariri tendered his resignation, reported the National News Agency.
According to a statement from the presidency, Aoun stressed to the ISG the importance of international agreements on the relations between nations and the protection they provide.
He also assured ambassadors of the “Lebanese leaders’ diligence and solidarity during this critical time in Lebanon’s history and their keenness on bolstering national unity, which has helped the country preserve its security and financial stability.”
The ISG expressed their continuing concern regarding the situation and prevailing uncertainty in Lebanon. They appealed for Lebanon to continue to be shielded from tensions in the region. In this regard, they stressed the importance of restoring the vital balance of Lebanon’s state institutions, essential to Lebanon’s stability, they said in a statement.
Noting the positive political achievements of the past year, ISG members urge all sides to continue to work for Lebanon’s national interests.
Meanwhile, Hariri received at his residence in Riyadh on Friday the Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Luca Ferrari, and the Russian Ambassador, Sergei Kozlov.
Mustaqbal Movement MP Oqab Saqr told Asharq Al-Awsat that the crisis in Lebanon cannot be resolved before resolving the issue of “Hezbollah’s” arms that have gone beyond the country’s borders.
This is a stance shared by Lebanese Forces sources, who said that waiting to approve Hariri’s resignation is aimed at buying time so that the party and its camp can prepare for the next phase in Lebanon.
The party and its allies have realized that this is the point of no return, added the sources.
Despite their conviction that forming a new government would be impossible, they said that Aoun is obligated to call on parliamentary consultations so that Hariri can be once against appointed to form a new cabinet.
That way the president would have adhered to constitutional procedures, they explained.
“Everyone realizes that ending the crisis can only be achieved with ‘Hezbollah’ returning to Lebanon and handing over its weapons,” said the LF sources.
Any internal dialogue on this issue will benefit Lebanon and the Lebanese, they remarked.
Head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, had meanwhile held talks with numerous ambassadors to Lebanon over the crisis.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan continued his consultations over the crisis, stressing before political delegations that “calm dialogue and diligence in tackling issues between all Lebanese powers is a national necessity in wake of the critical phase the country is passing through.”
He said that officials should not be hasty in making a stance over Hariri’s resignation, underlining the “historic fraternal ties” Beirut enjoys with Riyadh.
In New York, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had meanwhile carried out intense contacts on Lebanon over the past two days.