Hezbollah says Saudi declares Lebanon war over Hariri detention

Henrietta Brewer
November 13, 2017

Aoun has repeatedly sought clarification from Riyadh as to why Hariri has not been allowed to return to Beirut following his startling resignation announcement.

His remarks came during a television interview with Lebanese journalist Paula Yacoubian in Riyadh, where Mr Hariri has remained since his resignation.

Alongside the Hariri drama, Saudi authorities also announced the arrest last Saturday of more than 200 princes, senior officials and prominent Saudi business executives.

The resignation and its aftermath have thrust Lebanon back to the forefront of the conflict between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.

Since his surprise resignation in Riyadh, Saad Hariri's whereabouts has been shrouded in mystery: was he kidnapped, as some say?

He said he chose to resign to save the country from imminent danger, but did not elaborate.

"I am freely in the Kingdom, and if I want to travel tomorrow, I will travel".

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Saturday that Washington calls upon "all states and parties to respect Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and constitutional processes".

He added that France's envoy to Saudi Arabia had seen Hariri after a short-trip to the United Arab Emirates earlier this week.

Many Lebanese have suspected Hariri was placed under house arrest as part of a Saudi plan to unravel a coalition government he had formed previous year with the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah.

"There was a danger in Lebanon and I wanted to take additional steps and send a positive shock". Aoun has been convening high-level meetings with Lebanese politicians and foreign diplomats since Hariri stepped down.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to accept Hariri's resignation unless he tendered it in person in Lebanon.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "we are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon".

"I guess what the Saudis really want are assurances that Hizbollah isn't active in Yemen", said Amal Saad, a political science professor at Lebanese University.

"Hariri's willingness to reach a compromise with Hizbollah and retract his resignation, in addition to the conciliatory tone of his interview vis-à-vis Hizbollah, indicates it's now likely a solution can be reached similar to the status quo-ante".

The precise whereabouts of Mr Hariri has been unclear since he resigned from his post in an unexpected televised address from Riyadh on 4 November.

Cardinal Bechara El Rai, the head of Lebanon's Maronite sect, the country's largest Christian community, was expected to meet with Mr Hariri.

Other reports by iNewsToday