hariri at rally 311 .
(photo credit: AP)
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday promised he would seek to be the premier of a new government despite pressure from Hizbullah to step down, Reuters reported.
RELATED:Hizbullah drills military takeover of BeirutAnalysis: Lebanon enters a tunnel, the end of which can't be seen
Talks to form a new Lebanese government were scheduled for next week.
Speaking defiantly of Hizbullah, Hariri told a crowd in Beirut, "They have put aside all solutions and demanded Saad al Hariri be excluded ... we will go to constitutional talks on Monday with me as a candidate," he said.
One week ago, Hizbullah toppled his government and sparked fears that the country's political crisis could descend into street battles.
Hariri's Western-backed government fell last week over a dispute linked
to the UN tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, former
prime minister Rafik Hariri. Many fear that Hizbullah — widely expected
to be indicted by the court — will react violently if accused.
a televised address, Hariri said he would continue efforts to solve the
crisis diplomatically. The most recent talks, involving Qatar and
Turkey, failed to reach a compromise.
"We will go to the consultations and we will give our opinion while
committed to my nomination for the prime minister's post," the
40-year-old said, speaking in front of a poster of his father, who was
killed in a massive truck bombing along Beirut's waterfront in 2005.
also appealed for calm, saying: "Any drop of blood that falls from any
Lebanese citizen is more important to me than any post."Lebanese
Druse leader Walid Jumblatt on Thursday said he is under great pressure
not to name Hariri as the government's
next premier despite earlier statements of support for him, Lebanese
paper an-Nahar reported.
He told members of his party that
insisting on Hariri as the country's new prime minister would lead to
"catastrophic consequences" for the security of the Druse party,
himself, and the Druse population in Hizbullah-controlled areas. He
added that things "have become greater than him and his ability to
maintain the middle ground in a harsh battle in which Hariri's regional
and international backers only resort to statements, while his opponents
(Hizbullah) turn to all manners of military and popular pressure,"
according to the report.
Jumblatt said that he is under pressure to name former Lebanese prime minister Omar Karami in place of Hariri.
special police forces tightened security around the government palace
and other official buildings Thursday amid growing fears that the
country was headed toward violence.
A senior security official
confirmed to The Associated Press that the security measures in and
around Beirut stem from "concerns of movements on the ground by some
parties." The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with
Special police forces were seen hauling cement
barriers around the government house in Beirut and putting up
reinforcements around government buildings and banks. Armored personnel
carriers deployed to many areas of the city.