Aoun says Lebanon committed to dissociation policy

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) hugs Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ludovic MARIN
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) hugs Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ludovic MARIN

President Michel Aoun stressed Lebanon’s commitment to the dissociation policy and said that he was waiting for Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return from France to decide on the next steps.

This comes after Aoun, a key allty of the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group  accused Saudi Arabia of detaining the premier following his shock resignation.

“I am awaiting the return of Hariri from Paris for us to decide the next step with regards to the government,” the presidency’s Twitter account quoted Michel Aoun as saying.

Hariri has not returned to Lebanon since he announced his resignation while in Saudi Arabia on November 4.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday during a visit to the kingdom that Hariri would travel to France.

Hariri’s decision to accept an invitation to Paris is the “start of a solution” to the crisis sparked by his resignation in Saudi Arabia, ِAoun said.

Hariri has been in Riyadh since announcing his shock resignation from there on November 4.

“We hope that the crisis is over and Hariri’s acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution,” Aoun said.

In his sharply worded resignation statement, Hariri, 47, accused Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilizing his country and the broader region.

Speculation has swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a dual Saudi citizen.

On Wednesday, Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of “detaining” Hariri after what he said was his failure to return to the country for 12 days.

“We consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention,” he said.

“He will come to France and the prince has been informed,” Le Drian told reporters, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with whom he held talks the previous evening.

The French president’s office said on Wednesday that Hariri and his family had been invited to France for a “few days” but that did not mean he would stay there in exile.

Macron has stressed that Hariri should be able to return to Lebanon to confirm or withdraw his resignation in person.

France Worried by Iran’s ‘Hegemonic’ Intentions, Says FM

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a meeting with Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 16th, 2017. Photograph: Rania Sanjar/AFP/Getty Images
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a meeting with Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 16th, 2017. Photograph: Rania Sanjar/AFP/Getty Images

France is worried over  Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East, Le Drian said Thursday after meeting with Hariri .

At a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, Le Drian echoed Riyadh’s concerns over Iranian “intervention in regional crises” and “hegemonic” intentions in the region.
According to analysts Aoun was elected president  based on a settlement that called for abiding by the Dissociation policy as outlined in the Baabda declaration .
But it appears Aoun has reneged on the deal and continues to support Hezbollah arms despite the party’s continued interference in the affairs of the  neighboring Arab countries , specially Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen .
“Hezbollah weapons are not contradictory to the state, but are an essential part in defending the country,” Aoun said in an interview with Egypt’s CBC satellite channel in February this year despite the fact that most of Hezbollah’s  military involvement has been offensive outside of  of Lebanon and not in defense of Lebanon . Aoun continued ever since to defend Hezbollah’s role .

AFP/YL