Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

'Where's Hariri?': Has Riyadh 'Kidnapped' the Lebanon PM?

'Where's Hariri?': Has Riyadh 'Kidnapped' the Lebanon PM?

Saying that Iran continues to support the trend of peace and development in the Arab country, he described Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's recent resignation as an "unexpected and suspicious" move.

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

Meanwhile, in a statement released by Aoun's office on Saturday, the Lebanese president expressed concern over Hariri's situation and said the premier was living in a "dubious" situation in Saudi Arabia.

Tensions have been rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran, including over League members Qatar and Lebanon.

On Nov. 4, Hariri abruptly announced his resignation in a televised address delivered from Saudi Arabia.

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

"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.

"We hope that conditions in Lebanon would not go towards further complications, violence and differences, and the conditions prevailing before (Hariri's) resignation would be restored, and the process which started in Lebanon and was highly positive and satisfactory to all groups would be materialized again", he said.

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

"Whatever he chooses, we are with him".

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

Joanne Hamza, a physical education teacher who wore a cap with a picture of Hariri on it, said he was missed at the race. We want him to first come to Lebanon. "Everyone may not agree with Hariri's politics, but he is our prime minister".

"We are in the eye of the storm", he said. When asked about reports that he is not communicative and doesn't use his phone much, he said: "I am in a reflective state", adding that he didn't want any distractions amid a very busy schedule.

Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, head of the Maronite church, Lebanon's largest Christian community, was heading to Saudi Arabia on November 13 and was expected to meet with Hariri, the Associated Press reported.

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