Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri

Cheryl Sanders
November 14, 2017

Hariri's resignation, announced from Riyadh, and its aftermath have put Lebanon at the forefront of regional rivalry between Shi'ite-led Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia Riyadh in recent days.

"Lebanon's issues are related to the Lebanese themselves and we will not interfere in Lebanon's issues and based on our principled policies, we never interfere in other countries' internal affairs", Qassemi told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Monday.

Hariri announced his resignation in a televised statement last Saturday, citing many reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision.

Asked by reporters about Iran's reaction to Saudi Arabia's possible provocative moves against Lebanon, Qassemi said, "We can not speak on the basis of assumptions".

Hariri said his resignation was intended as a "positive shock" to his country, which he saw in danger.

"I will return to Lebanon very soon to initiate the necessary constitutional procedures", Hariri said, adding later that he would land in Beirut "in two or three days".

"Lebanon does not accept its prime minister being in a situation at odds with worldwide treaties and the standard rules in relations between states", he said.

On November 12, Hariri broke his silence on his resignation, saying he is "completely free" and not being held under some form of duress by his Saudi patrons. Before his resignation on November 4, he led a 30-member government that included Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and Iran, accusing both of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen.

A much-awaited live interview was done with Hariri on Sunday night by Future TV, a channel associated with his political party. Hariri's family lives in Riyadh.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies faced widespread worldwide criticism over the closure, with the UN and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death". This year, President Michel Aoun encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return. We want him to first come to Lebanon.

Hariri said he "can't be the only one making concessions while the others do whatever they want". Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later accused Iran of "direct military aggression" against the kingdom by supplying the rebels with ballistic missiles.

The announcement comes after Yemeni transport minister Murad Al Halimi said on Friday that airports in the government-held cities of Aden and Seiyun, in Hadramawt province, would be reopening.

Other reports by iNewsToday