Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Hariri says he will return to Lebanon soon, leaves doubt about resignation

Hariri says he will return to Lebanon soon, leaves doubt about resignation

In a televised interview with Future Television's Paula Yacoubian, Saad Al Hariri re-confirmed his resignation from his position as Lebanon's Prime Minister.

During a live interview, Saad Hariri said he would return to Lebanon within days to formally submit his resignation, if not rescind it.

Lebanon sits on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big subsea gas fields have been discovered since 2009, including the Leviathan and Tamar fields.

Earlier Sunday, thousands of people attending Lebanon's annual marathon used the event to urge Mr Hariri to return home.

Cardinal Bechara el-Rai had planned his visit before Saad Hariri announced his resignation in Riyadh on November 4, throwing Lebanon into crisis after he accused Iran of meddling in his country in a vicious tirade that was uncharacteristic of the usually soft-spoken politician.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said on Sunday that he believed Hariri was being held against his will with his movements restricted within the Saudi Capital.

His father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a auto bomb in Beirut in 2005.

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

In his resignation speech, Hariri said he feared assassination and accused Iran and Hezbollah of sowing strife in the region.

While Hariri cited the overwhelming influence of Iran and Hezbollah on Lebanese politics as the reason for his departure from office, there have been many indications that he is being kept against will in Saudi Arabia.

Hezbollah has expanded its political role in the complex Lebanese coalition during Hariri's 11 months in office. But sources close to the Lebanese leader said his forced resignation was motivated by Saudi efforts to counter Iran.

Hariri was a regular participant in the marathon, giving the global sports event a big boost. This year Mr Aoun encouraged runners to call on Mr Hariri to return.

French officials said the ministry's latest comments were the most accurate.

Next to Saad Hariri was a photograph of the man they alleged to be his captor: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

One woman raised a placard reading: "We want our prime minister back".

"We can not say that we apply disassociation and at the same time see a group interfering in Yemen, or be dragged to relations with the Syrian regime, which I will not do". Western countries are looking on with alarm at the rising regional tension.

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