The Latest: Hezbollah says Lebanon PM’s remarks ‘promising’

November 23, 2017
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri waves to his supporters from a window of his residence, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. Hariri announced on Wednesday that he was putting his resignation on hold to give way for more consultations, nearly three weeks after he unexpectedly announced he was stepping down. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Lebanon (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah bloc in parliament says Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s return to the country and “positive remarks” are “promising,” and sends a signal that matters “can return to normal.”

The comments Thursday were the first by the group since Hariri returned to Lebanon after nearly a three-week absence.

Hariri, who shocked the nation with his Nov. 4 announcement from Saudi Arabia that he was resigning, said Wednesday he was suspending his resignation, hoping a serious dialogue can follow. Hariri’s resignation was widely viewed as being forced by Saudi Arabia, Hariri’s backer, bringing its feud with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah to the tiny country.

Hassan Fadallah, a Hezbollah lawmaker, said Hariri’s statements can be built on to find “appropriate” solutions.

In his resignation statement, Hariri said he was protesting Hezbollah’s meddling in Arab affairs


12:05 p.m.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has told a regional banking conference that the country’s stability is his primary concern.

Thursday’s remarks — a day after Hariri suspended his resignation — sought to assure the Arab Banking Conference in Beirut that Hariri’s government would ensure Lebanon remain a top Mideast destination for finance.

Hariri stunned Lebanon and the region by resigning on Nov. 4 while in Riyadh, raising fears of market panic and recession.

But he told President Michel Aoun on Tuesday that he will stay on to allow for “consultations” that would seek to safeguard Lebanon’s delicate political system, stretched by competing agendas by Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh told the conference Lebanon’s economy is on track for a 2.5 percent growth this year.

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