By Wassim Seifeddine
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Wednesday he has put his resignation on hold.
Hariri returned to Beirut on Tuesday, more than two weeks after he announced a surprise resignation from Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at an Independence Day parade in Beirut, Hariri said he accepted a request by President Michel Aoun to suspend his resignation for “more dialogue into its reasons and political backgrounds”.
Later on Wednesday, Hariri addressed thousands of supporters at his residence, vowing to defend Lebanon against threats.
“I will continue being with you. We are here to defend Lebanon, our country’s stability and Arabs,” Hariri said. “We have nothing more valuable than our country. Our slogan will always be ‘Lebanon first’.”
His speech was frequently interrupted by the cheers from the crowd.
“We will not forget this moment. This is the moment when we meet our beloved ones and families. This moment indicates our loyalty. Thank you all,” Hariri said.
On Nov. 4, Hariri announced his resignation during a televised address from Saudi Arabia, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing “sedition” in the region and “meddling” in Arab affairs. He also mentioned an alleged plot to assassinate him.
Saudi Arabia, Hariri’s long-time political patron, is Iran’s arch-foe in the region. Riyadh supports Syria’s armed opposition while Iran and Hezbollah both support Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime.