Visiting Lebanese patriarch meets Saad al-Hariri in Saudi Arabia

16 November, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Macron Invites Lebanese PM Hariri to France Amid Rumors of His Detention

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday accused Saudi Arabia of holding hostage Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister on November 4 in a televised statement broadcast from Riyadh, where he had traveled on November 3.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri's older brother broke his silence Wednesday over the premier's mysterious resignation, saying he supports his brother's decision to step down over the growing demands and actions of Hezbollah.

On a note released by a social network, Aoun said that the government is willing to discuss the reasons for the resignation of Hariri under the condition of not infringing upon Lebanese sovereignty.

The Elysee Palace's statement came shortly after it said French President Emmanuel Macron invited Hariri to France following a conversation between Macron, Hariri and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

There have been rumours that Hariri had been detained along with dozens of Saudis in what Riyadh says is an anti-corruption campaign.

In a followup phone call from Monaco with the AP Wednesday, Bahaa Hariri declined to comment further.

Iran's ally Hezbollah holds major sway in Lebanese politics.

Riyadh and Hariri both oppose Hezbollah's military role in Syria, fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad, and what they allege is its participation in Yemen's civil war alongside the Houthi group against a Saudi-led coalition.


In a television interview Sunday, Hariri said he can leave on his own accord and left Lebanon because he was in fear of being assassinated like his father in 2005.

According to the president, it is not possible to make a decision about a resignation filed from overseas.

Worldwide pressure has been mounting for Hariri to return to Beirut after his prolonged stay in the kingdom since he announced in a televised speech from Riyadh on November 4 that he would be stepping down, tipping his country into crisis. He said Arab mediation to resolve the crisis had failed. "You will see", Hariri wrote, without elaborating.

The statement comes just a day after Hariri had announced on Twitter that he would return to Lebanon in the next two daysafter he had pledged to officially resign.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil delivers a press conference in Paris, November 14, 2017.

Velayati said, "Our ambassador to Lebanon also attended our meeting".

Hariri has denied being kept in custody by Saudi Arabia and pledged on Wednesday to return soon.

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