Tillerson meets world diplomats in Paris to support Lebanese PM Hariri

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri attend a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace of Baabda east of the capital Beirut

Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri attend a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace of Baabda east of the capital Beirut

It is the first major gathering of key nations to discuss Lebanon's future since a crisis erupted following Hariri's shock resignation last month while in Saudi Arabia.

"It's a sort of consecration, a re-legitimization for Mr Hariri", said Hasni Abidi of the CERMAM research center specializing in Arab affairs.

Saad Hariri addressed French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and other dignitaries gathered at a Paris summit on Friday in support of the tiny Mediterranean nation.

"The worldwide community is validating a return to normal for Hariri", he said from CERMAM's Geneva headquarters.

"It is about sending a clear message to all those who exert influence in Lebanon to avoid dragging this country into regional chaos", the French Foreign Ministry said.

In his televised announcement from Saudi Arabia on November 4, Hariri lambasted Tehran and its Lebanese ally, the powerful armed movement Hezbollah, for destabilizing his country. Hariri has since rescinded his resignation.

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The Lebanese leader remained in Riyadh for two weeks, sparking speculation that he was being held hostage by the Saudis. Hariri said he made a decision to rescind his resignation "after all factions in Lebanon had pledged to commit to the dissociation policy".

"The interference of Lebanese armed groups in regional conflicts can not go on".

On Nov. 4, Hariri abruptly announced his resignation in a televised address delivered from Saudi Arabia, which has always been considered his chief political patron.

"Lebanon's stability is a priority to ensure stability in the region".

After Friday's talks, Hariri will give a joint press briefing with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Amina Mohammed, the United Nations deputy secretary-general.

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat on Friday said the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon is an important gesture that requires the introduction of reforms in order to make it "successful".

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