Cars pass next to a poster depicting Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister, in Beirut, Lebanon,, Lebanon, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
November 14, 2017
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister who resigned from his post on Nov. 4, said on Monday he was fine and would return to Lebanon in the next two days.
Writing on Twitter, Hariri urged Lebanese to remain calm and said his family would stay in Saudi Arabia, calling it “their country”.
Hariri’s resignation while in Saudi Arabia pitched Lebanon into political crisis.
Top Lebanese government officials and senior politicians close to Hariri believe Saudi Arabia coerced him into quitting and has been holding him against his will ever since, though Hariri and Riyadh have denied this.
Hariri cited fear of assassination and accused Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world during his resignation speech.
Hariri gave his first public remarks on Sunday, saying in a televised interview in Riyadh he planned to return to Lebanon within days to affirm his resignation.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has stated that he believes Riyadh is restricting Hariri’s freedom, has refused to his resignation until his return from Saudi Arabia.
The political crisis has thrust tiny Lebanon to the forefront of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran being played out on battlefields from Syria to Yemen.
(Reporting by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Tom Perry/Mark Heinrich)