'Hariri: Opposition is demanding that I surrender'

Report quotes Lebanese PM as saying during meeting with Druze leader Jumblatt "they [the opposition} have a gun to my head."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 15, 2011 15:37
1 minute read.
Lebanese Saad Hariri in Washington

Lebanese Saad Hariri in Washington 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt on Friday that the opposition wants him to "surrender and present concession after concession," according to Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar.

"To top it all of, they have a gun pointed to my head," Hariri said during a meeting the two had after Hariri's return from a visit to the US.

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According to the report, political sources said the meeting centered on the efforts to end the political crisis.

Hariri returned to Lebanon and said that dialogue is the only way out of the country's political crisis after a Hizbullah-led coalition toppled his Western-backed government.

Hariri has been trying to rally support in the US, France, and Turkey since ministers allied to the Shi'ite militant group resigned on Wednesday, bringing down his government while he was in Washington meeting with President Barack Obama.

"There is no alternative to dialogue," Hariri told reporters Friday after meeting with President Michel Suleiman.



"Between power and the dignity of my people and country, I choose the dignity of Lebanon and the Lebanese," he said, reading from a brief statement. He did not take questions.

The crisis is the climax of long-simmering tensions over the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal is widely expected to indict members of Hizbullah soon, which many fear could rekindle violence in the tiny nation plagued for decades by war and civil strife. Hizbullah denounces the Netherlands-based tribunal as a conspiracy by the US and Israel and demanded Hariri reject the court's findings even before they come out. But Hariri has refused to break cooperation with the tribunal.

In an effort to ease tensions that some fear could ignite sectarian violence, the US Embassy in Beirut urged all political factions to "remain calm and exercise restraint at this critical time."


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