Rabat – In his first public appearance since announcing his resignation on television from Riyadh, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad El Hariri has indicated that he may cancel his resignation if Hezbollah agrees to withdraw from the conflicts in the region.
Offsetting speculations that he’s being held against his will in Riyadh and forced to resign, Hariri said in a televised interview on Sunday that his resignation was a “positive shock” to the war torn Lebanon.
“I am not against Hezbollah as a political party but it should not be the cause of the destruction of Lebanon,” Hariri stated, explaining that he resigned for the sake of the country’s national interests.
After having sent shockwaves across the region, the former prime minister said, barely holding in his tears, that he was “free” in Saudi Arabia and would return to Lebanon “very soon.”
“I am free here. If I wanted to travel tomorrow, I will. I will return to Lebanon very soon,” Hariri said, adding he would land in Beirut “in two or three days.”
Lebanon has become the prime focus of its neighboring kingdom, when the Saudi-allied Hariri resigned on a televised speech on Saturday, blaming Iran and its Lebanese allies for the decision.
Saudi Arabia is targeting the Iran-backed Hezbollah. The military and political organization has a strong presence in the Lebanese parliament and government and wields an army much stronger than that of Lebanon.
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran have been fighting over dominance of the Middle East by supporting opposing rivals in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Lebanon.
For Al Jazeera senior analyst Marwan Bishara, Saudi Arabia “wants to escalate its proxy war with Iran,” with Lebanon merely representing a front in it.
“Saudi Arabia and Iran both have always wanted to avoid direct conflict, and I think that will continue, basically because they can’t afford it,” said Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House.