Lebanese leader to return home
SAAD HARIRI, Lebanon’s prime minister who plunged the country into turmoil with his surprise resignation during a trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this month, said yesterday that he would return home “in the next two days”.
In his first tweet in more than a week, Mr Hariri urged Lebanese people to remain calm and said his family would stay in the kingdom.
His halting resignation speech prompted some observers, especially Iran-leaning and Shia-aligned Lebanese groups, including Hizbollah, to suggest it was done on Riyadh’s orders and that he is under de facto house arrest. He gave his first public remarks on the crisis to his own Future TV station on Sunday, where he appeared tired and under strain.
Mr Hariri, a dual Lebanese-saudi national, has homes in Saudi Arabia. His wife and children have been living in Saudi for years. Some Lebanese officials have said he should return with his family, so he could be free of Saudi pressure. Earlier, Gibran Bassil, Lebanon’s foreign minister, flew to Brussels on the first leg of a European tour to rally diplomatic support for his country following Mr Hariri’s resignation, which was refused by Michel Aou, the president.
Meanwhile, Save the Children warned that more than 50,000 Yemeni children could die by the end of the year as a result of disease and starvation caused by the war in the country, which has had its border closed with Saudi Arabia after the Saudis accused it of hosting terrorists.