Obama backs Hariri after unity government collapsed
US President Barack Obama voiced his full support for Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday after Hizbullah toppled his unity government during a White House visit.
Minutes after Obama and Hariri posed for photographers in the Oval Office, the Shiite group and its allies left the cabinet over a UN probe into the assassination of Hariri's father, the former premier.
A White House statement said the actions by Hizbullah "only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the government's ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all of the Lebanese people."
Obama hailed Hariri "for his steadfast leadership and efforts to reach peace, stability, and consensus in Lebanon under difficult circumstances. "The president and prime minister expressed their determination to achieve both stability and justice in Lebanon during this challenging period of government volatility, and agreed that all parties should avoid threats or actions that could cause instability," the White House statement said.
"The president and prime minister specifically discussed united efforts with France, Saudi Arabia, and other key international and regional actors to maintain calm in Lebanon and ensure that the work of the tribunal continues unimpeded by third parties," the White House statement added.