Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Hariri says he will return to Lebanon soon, leaves doubt about resignation

International Committee of the Red Cross workers unload a cargo plane carrying humanitarian relief supplies for civilians at the airport in Sanaa Yemen Hani MohammedNGOs Join UN Call to Lift Saudi Led Alliance's Blockade Threatening Yemen With Starvation
Kenny Thornton | 14 November, 2017, 10:55

Mr Hariri, a Sunni leader and businessman, was nominated to form Lebanon's government in November 2016.

The Lebanon president sought to smooth his inquiries with soft language, including reminding Riyadh of a "deep brotherly and friendly relations" between the two countries.

The Lebanese prime minister announced his resignation following visits to Saudi Arabia.

He repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon — his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Beirut in 2005 — but he added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal.

"We hope that Hariri will return to Lebanon as soon as possible" and formally submit his resignation, he said. Hariri explained after the break that the man was one of his staff, telling him of the latest developments in Lebanon. Before his resignation on November 4, he led a 30-member government that included Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, accusing both of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen known as Houthis.

He added that a marathon planned in Beirut on Sunday in which tens of thousands are expected to participate should be "a national sports demonstration for solidarity with Prime Minister Hariri and his return to his country".

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that Hariri was "detained in Saudi Arabia" and "banned from returning to Lebanon".

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Hariri's office said he met several diplomats in Riyadh on Monday including the British and German ambassadors.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies faced widespread worldwide criticism over the closure, with the UN and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death".

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (unseen) review the honor guard during an official welcome ceremony at Marka airport in Amman on February 14, 2017.

"Whatever he chooses, we are with him". "You made me exhausted", he said.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack, saying the missiles bore "Iranian markings".

"The Lebanese people have been waiting for him (Hariri) to return because the situation has come to a stop and the Lebanese people have been unsettled", el-Rai said.

"We are in the eye of the storm", he said.

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