November 22, 2017
EMMANUEL Macron has spoken to Iran's and Israel's leaders about the urgent need to preserve Lebanon's stability and to reduce simmering tensions in the Middle East.

Macron urges Iran and Israel to work together to ease Middle East tensions

In separate telephone calls, Mr Macron, 39, urged Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to keep Lebanon “disassociated” with regional crisis, Mr Macron’s office said in a statement.
Mr Macron said: “Countries in the Middle East must work collectively to reduce tensions in the region."
Saad al-Hariri returned to Beirut on Wednesday less than three weeks after he resigned as Lebanon’s premier in a shock broadcast from Saudi Arabia and plunged his stunned country into political turmoil.
Mr Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi national and a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia, cited fear of assassination in his awkward resignation speech, during which he also accused Iran and Hezbollah of “meddling” in the affairs of the Arab world.

Macron urges Iran and Israel to work together to ease Middle East tensions



Lebanese officials said the Saudis had forced Mr Hariri to quit and held him and his family “hostage” in Saudi Arabia, claims both Riyadh and Mr Hariri have vehemently denied.
But he Lebanese prime minister said he would hold off from handing in his resignation in response to a request from president Michel Aoun to allow for “more dialogue” shortly after returning home to Beirut.
Frédéric Encel, a French geopolitical analyst, told radio Europe 1: “Mr Hariri cannot step down as prime minister without Mr Aoun’s approval.
“The Saudis won’t accept another prime minister.
"They backed Mr Hariri because they trusted him to get rid of Hezbollah. But then they forced him to resign because in their eyes he was working with – and not against – their arch enemy.
“Hezbollah is a state within a state. We’re dealing with a full-fledged army… In the ‘cold war’ between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah is essentially Iran’s armed wing."
Mr Macron’s office also saidthe 39-year-old president had told Mr Rouhani and Mr Netanyahu that France remained committed to the “implementation and preservation” of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and that regional subjects and ballistic missile programmes should be “discussed separately”.
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