Saad Hariri, who recently quit as prime minister under mysterious circumstances, said he will return home.
beirut — Lebanon’s Saad Hariri, who plunged his country into crisis with his surprise resignation as prime minister during a trip to Saudi Arabia, said in a tweet Tuesday that he will return home in the next two days but that his family will remain in the kingdom.
Lebanon’s foreign minister, meanwhile, said during a trip to Paris that his country may resort to international law to determine Hariri’s condition if he does not return to Lebanon.
It was Hariri’s first personal tweet since he announced his resignation Nov. 4 during a trip to Saudi Arabia. Previous tweets since his resignation had consisted of official pictures and news releases.
“People, I am fine. And God willing I will come back in two days. Can we chill?” Hariri wrote.
His surprise resignation and then scarce communication led many Lebanese to speculate that he was being held against his will despite Saudi denials. A live interview Sunday with a Lebanese television station affiliated with his political party did little to dispel such fears.
On Tuesday, Hariri met with the Lebanese patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, who visited Saudi Arabia, the first publicized meeting with a Lebanese official. But no TV cameras were allowed, and only photos of the encounter were released.
President Michel Aoun has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation and urged him to come home. Hezbollah and other rivals have suggested that Hariri’s Saudi patrons forced him to resign to wreck Lebanon’s coalition government, which includes Iranbacked Hezbollah.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said he hoped to resolve the “ambiguous” Hariri situation with Saudi Arabia. Bassil said that if Hariri does not return, it will prove he is not free.
“We hope Lebanon doesn’t have to resort to international law,” he said.
The resignation came amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Hariri lashed out at Hezbollah in his resignation speech and said he feared for his safety. Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of declaring war on the kingdom by supporting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who fired a ballistic missile the night of Hariri’s resignation that was intercepted near Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
Last week, Saudi Arabia called on its citizens to leave Lebanon “immediately,” raising fears of further escalation.
Asked whether he fears punitive actions from the kingdom, Bassil said any attack on Lebanon would affect the whole region.
In his interview, Hariri hinted that he might reconsider his resignation if Hezbollah agreed to discuss staying out of regional affairs. Hariri, a dual LebaneseSaudi national, has homes in Saudi Arabia, where his wife and children have been living for years.