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Transcript of interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

WP: What's it like for you right now? How do you deal with the stresses that I imagine you are under?

Hariri: Actually everybody asks me this question. I don't feel like it's stress. I feel like it's a challenging period. It's a difficult period. What I try to focus on is how to keep the country in tact, how to keep the unity of the Lebanese, which is going to be very difficult and is very difficult. But you have to be very absorbent. You have to be like a sponge. You have to absorb all this, all what's happening today. You have to see beyond the smoke that is around you. You have to stay steadfast and walking on the same road that you started walking on. And it's not going to be easy. Nobody's going to give you everything on a silver tray. It's going to be difficult.

WP: Lebanon is always a fury of politics so sometimes it's hard to see if it's really at a unique crisis moment or there is a lot of hyperbole.

Hariri: What I think what one needs to do is see beyond what's happening now and if you try to see beyond that then you're fine. Sometimes it's difficult. Sometimes, the smoke is so heavy. But I think persisting and continuing in the same vision will get you there.

WP: You mean this moment of the tribunal, Hezbollah's threat, this debate over trying false witnesses?

Hariri: Yes. See beyond that. For me what's important today, of all of what you see today, is how to keep Lebanon united. People are afraid and everybody's afraid sometimes because of that division that we have. But looking to how resolving that division, understanding the fears of some in Hezbollah or others, understanding that yes it is a problem for Lebanon and there should be real thoughts into how to keep uniting the country around not having a confessional problem but instead uniting the people around whatever the divisions that we have. Because I believe the Lebanese have much more in common than in difference. And I think this is sometimes where we fall into the mistakes and concentrate on the differences that we have instead of on what we share with each other. And I believe that we have a lot in common as Lebanese as long as we think as Lebanese. This is not an easy job to keep on pushing. Although sometimes I might sound sometimes idealist or too optimistic but I think my father used to say to me in everything bad there's something good that is going to come out of it and there will always be a tomorrow. So as long as you believe in those two things I think Lebanon's going to be in good hands.

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