SHAFAQNA – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri says he will return to Lebanon in the next two days, after his surprise resignation in Saudi Arabia created a shockwave in Lebanon’s political scene.
Hariri announced his resignation in Riyadh on November 4, shortly after travelling to Saudi Arabia. The televised announcement saw him reading out from a statement.
Lebanese government officials and senior sources close to Hariri believe that Riyadh forced him to step down and has further placed him under effective house arrest since he touched down in Saudi Arabia on November 3, a day before he announced his shock resignation in a televised address aired from the kingdom’s capital.
Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry has pledged to keep up pressure on Saudi Arabia not to impede Hariri’s return, the al-Akhbar paper reported, citing sources within the ministry.
However, in a Sunday interview, the first since he flew to Saudi Arabia, Hariri described himself as a “free man” who intended to “return” to his home country “within days,” denying widespread speculations that he had been on house arrest since he filed his resignation from the Saudi capital. Riyadh says the Lebanese premier has stayed in Saudi Arabia of his own free will.
Hariri cited several reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he realized a plot was being hatched against his life. Furthermore, Hariri also accused Iran and the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, of meddling in the Arab countries’ affairs; an allegation the two have strongly rejected. Hezbollah is part of the coalition government led by Hariri.
In the interview, Hariri added that he would be willing to “rescind the resignation” if intervention in regional conflicts, particularly “by Hezbollah,” stopped.