Hariri lives in mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances with re­stricted free­dom: Aoun

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

Le­banese Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun says Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri, who an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion in a broad­cast from Saudi Ara­bia, is liv­ing in “mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances” with re­stricted free­dom in Riyadh.

Aoun said Hariri was liv­ing in “mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances” in Riyadh, which had “reached the de­gree of re­strict­ing (his) free­dom” and Riyadh had im­posed “con­di­tions on his res­i­dency and on con­tact with him even by mem­bers of his fam­ily,” Le­banon’s pres­i­dency said in a state­ment on Sun­day.

He added that this threw doubt over any­thing that Hariri has said, or will say, and em­pha­sized that the pre­mier’s state­ments could not be con­sid­ered as an ex­pres­sion of his full free will.

Mean­while, Saad al-Hariri claims he is not be­ing held cap­tive in Saudi Ara­bia and will be re­turn­ing to his coun­try in the next few days.

Hariri made the re­marks on Sun­day dur­ing an in­ter­view with the Le­banese TV chan­nel Fu­ture TV.

He fur­ther said that his res­ig­na­tion had been given in the in­ter­est of Le­banon, and that the coun­try may be fac­ing Arab sanc­tions.

“I am free here. If I want to travel to­mor­row, I will…I will re­turn to Le­banon very soon,” he said, adding that he would re­turn to Beirut “in two or three days.”

Hariri added that would be will­ing to “re­scind the res­ig­na­tion” if in­ter­ven­tion in re­gional con­flicts stopped.

Ma­ronite leader vis­its Riyadh amid Hariri mys­tery

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, a top Le­banese Chris­tian re­li­gious fig­ure was head­ing to Saudi Ara­bia on Mon­day af­ter­noon with the hope of meet­ing Le­banon’s Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri whose sur­prise res­ig­na­tion in Riyadh has raised many ques­tions.

The visit by Car­di­nal Bechara el-Rai, who heads the Ma­ronite sect, is the lat­est in Le­banon’s ef­forts to al­lay fears about the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Hariri’s fate in Saudi Ara­bia.

The Ma­ronite sect is Le­banon’s largest Chris­tian com­mu­nity and the Mid­dle East’s largest Catholic church, to which Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun also be­longs.

Le­banon’s For­eign Min­istry on Mon­day pledged to keep up pres­sure on Saudi Ara­bia not to im­pede Hariri’s re­turn, the Al Akhbar pa­per re­ported, cit­ing sources within the min­istry.

Govern­ment sources said Hariri’s an­nounce­ment to re­turn to Beirut soon showed that the House of Saud regime had backed down on its stances.

Le­banon how­ever could not lend any cre­dence to his claims un­til he was back, and that it was not yet clear whether Riyadh would al­low his re­turn, they added.

Le­banon’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ge­bran Bas­sil is also said to be­gin a for­eign tour soon to lobby for Hariri’s re­turn with Euro­pean coun­tries, start­ing with Rus­sia, adding the coun­try would seek re­course to other means if the ef­forts did not yield re­sults.

French Pres­i­dent Emanuel Macron vis­ited Saudi Ara­bia but un­con­firmed me­dia re­ports said he had not been granted a meet­ing with Hariri. Also on Mon­day, French For­eign Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian called for “non-in­ter­fer­ence” in Le­banon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.