Lebanon believes Hariri held in Saudi, wants foreign pressure: top official
BEIRUT: Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia, is being held by Riyadh, and Beirut plans to work with foreign states to secure his return, a top Lebanese government official said on Thursday.
Hariri’s shock resignation read from Saudi Arabia pitched Lebanon into a deep political crisis and pushed the country back to the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has fueled specula- tion in Lebanon that the Sunni Muslim politician, long an ally of Riyadh, was coerced into stepping down by the Saudis.
Asecond source, a senior Lebanese politician who is close to Hariri, said: “When he went (to Saudi Arabia) he was asked to stay there and ordered to resign. They ordered him to read his resignation statement and he has been held under house arrest since.”
Saudi Arabia and Hariri aides have denied reports that he is under house arrest. But he has put out no statements himself denying his movements are being restricted. He made a oneday flying visit to theUnited Arab Emirates earlier this week before returning to Saudi Arabia.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun is moving toward a diplomatic approach to “uncover the mystery surrounding Hariri’s resignation”, Lebanon’s al-Manar television, which supports Iranbacked Shi‘ite movement Hezbollah, reported.