Saudis, Le­banon ‘at war’

The Sunday Times - - WORLD -

THE chief of Le­banon’s Shi­ite Hezbol­lah move­ment, Has­san Nas­ral­lah, has ac­cused Saudi Ara­bia of declar­ing war against Le­banon and keep­ing Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri against his will.

Ten­sions height­ened in the re­gion since Mr Hariri an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion last week on a trip to the Saudi cap­i­tal, where he has re­mained.

Mr Nas­ral­lah said Saudi Ara­bia had forced Mr Hariri to re­sign. “The lan­guage Saudi of­fi­cials are us­ing is a war on Le­banon and not on Hezbol­lah,” he said in a speech.

“Hariri is be­ing held in Saudi Ara­bia and is not al­lowed to re­turn to Le­banon.”

Mr Nas­ral­lah said Mr Hariri was co­erced into re­sign­ing.

Riyadh has pre­vi­ously de­nied the al­le­ga­tion and said Mr Hariri, a Sunni politi­cian who also holds a Saudi pass­port, is free to leave the king­dom. Mr Hariri said as he re­signed his life was in dan­ger and ac­cused Iran and Hezbol­lah of desta­bil­is­ing his coun­try.

Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun said a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the res­ig­na­tion would be de­layed un­til the premier’s re­turn.

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