Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Hariri indicates possibility of revoking his resignation

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co. Matthew Lloyd—Bloomberg via Getty Images
Melinda Barton | 14 November, 2017, 10:54

A new political crisis gripping the Middle East has destroyed the relative peace of Lebanon's coalition government, ruled - until just days ago - by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, after his stunning November 4 resignation that was announced from within Saudi Arabia, where he remains as of this moment.

A picture of Lebanon's prime minister appeared this week on the front of a popular daily newspaper below the headline "The Hostage".

Aoun further called on Riyadh to clarify why Hariri hasn't returned home since announcing his resignation in the kingdom last week.

The Lebanon president sought to smooth his inquiries with soft language, including reminding Riyadh of a "deep brotherly and friendly relations" between the two countries.

Hariri's resignation, which has yet to be endorsed by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, came amid tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"We hope that Hariri will return to Lebanon as soon as possible" and formally submit his resignation, he said.

"If we want to go back on the resignation, we have to return to the policy of distancing ourselves" from regional conflicts", he said, according to the Associated Press.

Just hours before Hariri's interview on Sunday, Aoun blasted the "obscure circumstances" around the resigned prime minister's stay in Riyadh.

"I am free", Hariri told the interviewer, apparently seeking to show he was not being detained by the Saudis.

Many authorities in Lebanon have insisted on the return of Hariri from Saudi Arabia. Then, when an natural disaster was reported in Iraq and Iran, she referenced it, telling Hariri it was to make sure people believed the interview was live.

The kingdom has been demanding that Hezbollah play no role in future government, accusing the group of supporting anti-Saudi Yemen rebels known as Houthis. A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis rebels since 2015 in a bloody conflict that has resulted in a major humanitarian disaster.

Asked why Hariri was wearing the same suit for three days, he said: "I said I'm not responsible for his closet".

"The Lebanese people have been waiting for him (Hariri) to return because the situation has come to a stop and the Lebanese people have been unsettled", el-Rai said.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack, saying the missiles bore "Iranian markings".

"We will carry these concerns to the king and crown prince and wish well", he said.