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Lebanese president Michel Aoun holds talks on government's future

Aoun opened two days of talks with the country's political leaders on Monday. [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 November, 2017

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Lebanese President Michel Aoun opened two days of talks with the country's political leaders on Monday over the government's future in the wake of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's suspended resignation.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun opened two days of talks with the country's political leaders on Monday over the government's future in the wake of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's suspended resignation.

Hariri's shock resignation on 4 November from Saudi Arabia threw his coalition government and the country into crisis, but he rescinded the move after returning home allowing time for negotiations.

On Saturday Hariri demanded that his coalition ally Hizballah remove itself from regional conflicts, issuing a statement saying he would not tolerate actions that might "affect our Arab brothers or target the security and stability of their countries".

He did not reveal which countries he meant, but Hizballah are backing Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria and aiding the Iraqi army and militias.

Saudi Arabia has also accused Hizballah of supporting Yemeni Houthi militants who fired a ballistic missile at the capital Riyadh earlier this month.

Hizballah denies playing a military role in Yemen.

Aoun met on Monday with the head of Hizballah's parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Raad, who later told reporters they discussed "reactivating" the government.

Raad wouldn't answer questions about Hizballah's disassociation from regional conflicts.

Hariri's resignation was widely viewed as being forced by Saudi Arabia, Hariri's backer, bringing its feud with the Iran-backed Hizballah to the tiny country.

Speculation had swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom, after spending two weeks holed up in Riyad after he resigned. 

Aoun had accused Saudi Arabia of "detaining" him.

"We will not accept that he remain a hostage and that we do not know the reasons for his detention," he said earlier in November. 

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