Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri speaks during the 16th anniversary of the assassination of his father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon February 14, 2021. REUTERS
Saad Al-Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister-designate who announced his resignation on Thursday, said he sought during his earlier visit to Cairo to import Egyptian gas through Syria.
Hariri’s resignation comes only a day after he visited the Egyptian capital, where he held talks with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Al-Hariri cited “key differences” with the country's president, Michel Aoun, as the reason behind his decision to abandon attempts to form a new government, which have been ongoing since late last year.
His resignation came after a brief meeting with Aoun.
“Egypt today has gas. If we used gas in our stations, we would save 50-60 percent of the cost,” Al-Hariri said in an interview with Mariam Al-Bassam on Lebanese Al-Jadeed New TV channel, affirming that his visit to Cairo was not only for political reasons.
“Since the [tenure] of the Hassan Diab’s government and my government, we have been trying to convince Americans so that we can bring gas through Jordan and Syria for our stations,” Al-Hariri said.
“I went to Egypt, while there have been ongoing discussions with the Jordanians to see how we are removing obstacles with the Americans so that we can bring gas to Lebanon,” he added.
The former premier affirmed that Egypt has always supported the need to form a Lebanese government and has always stood by Lebanon.
He denied that he discussed his resignation plans with El-Sisi.
Al-Hariri was named premier for a fourth time in October after his successor, Hassan Diab, stepped down. He pledged to quickly form a new cabinet comprised of specialists that would enact reforms and save the country from economic collapse.
Meeting with the former Lebanese premier in Cairo, El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s full support for Al-Hariri’s political path to restore stability in Lebanon and deal with the current challenges.
El-Sisi expressed Egypt’s support for Al-Hariri’s efforts to form a government, highlighting the importance of the concerted efforts of all to settle any differences in this context to get Lebanon out of the situation it is currently suffering from by upholding Lebanon’s national interest.