France's Macron invites Hariri and family to France - Elysee

Michele Moreno
November 16, 2017

Lebanon's President Michael Aoun said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has detained Prime Minister Saad Hariri since his resignation in Riyadh on November 4.

Hariri resigned as Lebanon's prime minister on November 4 in a video broadcast from Saudi Arabia and has yet to return to Lebanon.

"Hariri is a prisoner in Saudi Arabia, and can not return to his own country". Saudi Arabia has denied detaining Hariri or coercing him to quit.

Hariri declared his resignation during a visit to Riyadh, claiming Iran's interference in Arab countries' affair for his resignation.

In his first media appearance since he stepped down, Hariri said on Sunday that he had freedom of movement and would return to Lebanon in the coming days. He has not returned to Lebanon since, and the Lebanese president has refused to accept his resignation before he returns to the country to explain the circumstances of his decision.

Hariri's resignation came against the backdrop of mounting tensions between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shiite Muslim Iran, which back opposing sides in power struggles in hotspots such as Syria and Yemen.

"I want to repeat: I am fine and will return to my beloved Lebanon as I promised you, you will see", Hariri tweeted minutes after Aoun issued his statement.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the head of Aoun's political party, said the situation was "not normal" but that Beirut wanted "good relations" with Riyadh.

However, Riyadh's Western allies have struck a tone different from that of Saudi Arabia, appearing to throw their weight behind both Hariri and the Lebanese state, whose army is a major recipient of US aid. The statement was broadcasted from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

On Twitter, Hariri said he was well but that his family was staying in Saudi Arabia.

"Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return for 12 days, therefore we consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention", Aoun has stated on the Twitter account of the Lebanese presidency, adding that he can not accept resignation submitted from overseas.

Saudi al-Arabiya television quoted him as saying he supported the reasons for Hariri's resignation.

Echoing Saudi demands, MPs from Hariri's Future Movement called for a United Nations resolution from 2006 that demanded all militias in Lebanon disarm to be respected.

Other reports by Insurance News

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