Hariri Vows to Act if Govt. Doesn't Take 'Clear' Stance in Monday Meeting

Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri on Sunday pledged to escalate his rhetoric if the government does not take a “clear stance” regarding the latest row with Saudi Arabia over Hizbullah's policies and Lebanon's diplomatic positions.

Chatting with reporters after an extraordinary meeting for the March 14 forces at the Center House, Hariri lamented that the government's Ministerial Statement is not being “respected.”

“We were clear on the dissociation issue, but today it is no longer permissible for Lebanon to be outside the existing Arab consensus,” he added.

“The cabinet has to take a clear stance tomorrow, otherwise we will use a different language,” Hariri warned.

Asked about Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil's latest decisions during Arab and Islamic meetings, Hariri pointed out that Bassil “did not coordinate it with Prime Minister Tamam Salam.”

He said that “addressing issues in this manner is no longer useful, as Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei himself condemned the attack (against the Saudi embassy in Tehran) and so did Iraq.”

Asked whether the Saudi grant has been halted for some time now and not on Friday as declared by an unnamed Saudi official, Hariri said this is not true “because some equipment was supposed to arrive in April and May, but due to the 'shrewdness' of some Lebanese politicians, we arrived to where we are today.”

Asked if Lebanon’s formula allows sharp political stances during the current period, he said: “Of course, as long as there is a party fighting in Syria.”

Hariri added that there will be an activation of the meetings of the March 14 forces in a way that “serves Lebanon’s interest.”

The remarks of Hariri, who is close to Riyadh, come three days after Saudi Arabia decided to halt a $3 billion program for military supplies to Lebanon in protest at alleged Hizbullah policies and recent diplomatic stances by Lebanon's foreign ministry.

In light of positions taken by Hizbullah, the kingdom proceeded to "a total evaluation of its relations with the Lebanese republic," an unnamed official told the Saudi Press Agency on Friday.

Lebanon received the first tranche of weapons designed to bolster its army against jihadist threats, including anti-tank guided missiles, in April last year but the program then reportedly ran into obstacles.

Hizbullah is supported by Saudi Arabia's regional rival Iran, with whom relations have worsened this year.

Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran last month after demonstrators stormed its embassy and a consulate following the Saudi execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric and activist, Nimr al-Nimr.

The official quoted by the Saudi Press Agency said the kingdom had noticed "hostile Lebanese positions resulting from the stranglehold of Hizbullah on the State."

He also deplored the "political and media campaigns inspired by Hizbullah against Saudi Arabia," as well as what he called the group's "terrorist acts against Arab and Muslim nations."

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday accused Turkey and Saudi Arabia of dragging the entire region into war and said "victory" was imminent for his group and its Syrian regime allies.

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