Egypt, France Mediate to Keep Lebanon's PM Hariri in Office

Hariri announced his resignation November 4 in a shock broadcast on the Al Arabiya television network the day after his arrival, blaming Iran and Hezbollah for the decision. He thanked Macron, who has been mediating as part of French efforts to try to ease tensions across the region, for his help.

According to Al-Akhbar's sources, France insists that PM Hariri remains in office, expressing worries about any governmental vacuum that results from the resignation, "which may lead into a political, security and economic instability".

The celebrations are traditionally attended by the president, the prime minister and also the parliament speaker - three pillars of Lebanon's political system, with the president traditionally a Maronite Christian, the speaker a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni.

Afterward, Hariri said he had a "long conversation" with el-Sissi that focused on the need to maintain Lebanon's stability and the need to keep the country away from "all regional policies".

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Saudi Arabia, Hariri's long-time political patron, is Iran's arch-foe in the region. Hariri's government, a power-sharing coalition formed previous year, includes Hezbollah.

That was evident since the outbreak of the Lebanese crisis over the last week with a surprise visit to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, followed by a flurry of calls, sending his foreign minister to Saudi Arabia and then the invitation to Hariri, which caught many diplomats unawares.

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  • Megan Austin