Saturday 24 August 2019

PM Saad Hariri confirms Lebanon return within two days after resignation

Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri gives a live TV interview in Riyadh (Future TV/AP/PA)
Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri gives a live TV interview in Riyadh (Future TV/AP/PA)

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who plunged the country into crisis with his surprise resignation during a trip to Saudi Arabia, says he will return home in the next two days.

In his first tweet in more than a week, Mr Hariri told followers that he is OK and that he would be returning without his family, who will stay "in their home" in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the November 4 resignation, which came under mysterious circumstances, until Mr Hariri returns to the country.

Lebanon has insisted the resignation was forced by Mr Hariri's Saudi patrons and that he is being kept in the kingdom against his will.

Mr Hariri had denied those reports in a Sunday TV interview.

Some Lebanese officials have said he should return with his family, so he could be free of any Saudi pressure.

The resignation came amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Mr Hariri criticised Lebanon's militant Hezbollah movement in his resignation speech and said he feared for his safety.

Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that is also a member of Mr Hariri's coalition government, has cast his resignation as a Saudi plot to plunge Lebanon into chaos and has called on him to return.

Mr Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi national, has homes in Saudi Arabia. His wife and children have been living in Saudi Arabia for years.

Earlier on Tuesday, Lebanon's foreign minister flew to Brussels on the first leg of a European tour that aims to rally support for his country's stability following the resignation.

Foreign minister Gibran Bassil's first stop on Tuesday was in Brussels, followed by Paris. The visit aims to rally diplomatic support and explain Lebanon's predicament following Mr Hariri's move.


PA Media

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