Saad al-Hariri to stay in office

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has deffered his resignation, effectively averting a political vacuum.

Hariri on Wednesday disclosed to reporters that he has suspended his resignation in order to continue dialogue with various domestic political groups.

He said he responded to a request from Lebanese President Michel Aoun to give more time for consultations.Hariri announced unexpectedly while on a visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month that he was stepping down from his post for fear of assassination.

He returned to Lebanon late Tuesday after making stopovers in other countries, including France and Egypt. He sat down for talks with the president on Wednesday after jointly attending a ceremony marking Lebanon’s Independence Day in Beirut.

Hariri is backed by Saudi Arabia. He’s part of a coalition government in Lebanon that includes members of the Shia organization Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.

Speculation is rife that Saudi Arabia forced Hariri to resign because of his conciliatory stance toward Hezbollah.

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