TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri postponed handing in his resignation Wednesday upon the request of President Michel Aoun, amidst Independence Day celebrations.
“I offered my resignation to President Aoun and he asked me to put off presenting it, to allow for more consultations on the reasons for it and its political background,” Hariri told reporters from Baabda Palace, speaking after a sit-down with Aoun that was held as guests arrived at the palace for an Independence Day reception.
"I agreed to his request, hoping that it will provide a serious opening to a responsible dialogue that will renew the commitment to the Taif Accord and the basics of national consensus, and resolve controversial issues and their impact on Lebanon's relationship with its Arab brothers."
Hariri said that, at this delicate stage, Lebanon requires exceptional efforts from the different parties to fortify the country from dangers and challenges.
"At the forefront of these efforts is the need to commit to the dissociation policy from external conflicts and regional disputes, and from all of that disrupts internal stability and the brotherly relationship with our Arab brethren," the premier said, The Daily Star reported.
Hariri said he looked forward to a true partnership between all political factions that would put Lebanon’s best interests first and preserve coexistence between the Lebanese.
He thanked both Aoun and Berri for their keenness to protect Lebanon’s stability, and their respect for Lebanon’s Constitution and norms.
Sources had told The Daily Star earlier that Hariri was expected to officially hand his resignation to Aoun. "There is an appointment for Hariri [to meet with the president] after the reception ends, during which he will resign," the sources had said.
Speaker Nabih Berri initially joined the meeting between Aoun and Hariri before exiting, leaving the pair to discuss recent developments.
The meeting was significant, coming as it did after Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement made from Riyadh on Nov.4.
That surprise announcement took the country by storm and sent shockwaves throughout the region.
Aoun pointedly refused to accept the decision until Hariri returned to Lebanon and handed in his resignation on Lebanese territory.
The premier arrived back in Beirut – after an extended stay in Saudi Arabia, followed by a brief visit to Paris – Tuesday night, coming from Egypt via Cyprus.
Berri and Hariri traveled to the presidential palace together Wednesday after attending the Independence Day parade in Downtown.
Once there, they met with Aoun, who had preceded them from the festivities separately.
There had been speculation over whether Hariri would meet with Aoun Wednesday, but just minutes after Aoun arrived at the palace, Berri and Hariri stepped out of their vehicle to join him.
The premier reportedly drove the speaker to the palace, with Berri in the passenger seat.
After announcing his decision, Hariri joined Aoun and Berri for the reception, to which local officials, diplomats, security and religious figures had flocked.
The reception was not free of tense political moments: Hariri avoided shaking hands with Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel-Karim Ali, instead taking Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil aside for a chat until the ambassador had passed.