Lebanon's Prime Minister Resigns, Fears Plot On His Life

Lebanese prime minister suggests he fears for his life, resigns

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 hard consultations on his successor.

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

Al-Hariri placed the blame squarely on Iran and Hezbollah.

Referring to the resignation letter of Hariri, the source went on saying a short review of the wording of the letter leaves no doubt that it was the Saudis who had dictated the resignation on Hariri.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was concerned by Hariri's resignation and hoped all sides in the country would back its state institutions, his spokesman on Lebanon Stephane Dujarric said in an emailed statement. "We are living in a climate similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri", his father, who was killed in a auto bomb incident in 2005 that many believe Hezbollah was involved in".

Manama has declared Hezbollah a terrorist group and repeatedly accused it of involvement in violent attacks in the kingdom.

Saudi media have published reports of a plot to assassinate Hariri in recent days, but all of Lebanon's main security branches have said they have no information about such a plot. Hariri has frequently called on the group to withdraw its fighters from Syria. "But unfortunately, this pushed Iran and its allies to more interference in our internal affairs", he said.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is set to address Hariri's resignation in a speech on Sunday, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV reported.

Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, has been serving as prime minister since December 2016.

Its warning came a day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation.

A source close to Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior aid to Iran's Leader, has revealed the secret contents of a Friday meeting between Velayati and Lebanese PM Saad Hariri.

Maha Yahya, director of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East, said that with the Syrian war calming down, Hariri's move could be a message from Saudi Arabia to Iran that it "can't have it all".

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