Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia, from where he resigned as Lebanese prime minister. Hariri’s resignation read out on television from Saudi Arabia, one week ago, came as a shock even to his aides.
Saudi Arabia holds Hariri and all Lebanon demands his return, confirmed the Lebanese officials. The United States also added its voice to those urging that Hariri be allowed to return to Lebanon.
Al-Diyar newspaper wrote Sunday,from an American source who spoke on condition of anonymity the following: (a literal translation from the Arabic Daily)
“We believe that keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh, after Saudi officials asked him to fly to Saudi Arabia where he presented his resignation, a strange and suspicious affair. We contacted the Saudi leadership, especially Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and asked them to give the Lebanese PM Hariri his freedom and Saudi Arabia promised us to do so and to give Hariri the freedom to move to Riyadh (the Saudi capital.)
We are still negotiating with the Saudi authorities to find a solution to Hariri’s strange position, and especially to allow him to be free to make his own decisions.”
Tillerson said, “If Hariri wants to step down, he needs to go back to Lebanon, and formally resign, so that the government of Lebanon can function properly.”
In addition, a senior Lebanese official who also spoke on condition of anonymity said that “Keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh is an attack on Lebanese sovereignty. Our dignity is his dignity. We will work with foreign states to return him to Beirut.”
Finally, Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch will visit Saudi Arabia next week; the patriarch received a positive response from Saudi officials over the possibility of seeing Hariri.
(You can also read: How Saudi Arabia turned on Lebanon’s Hariri!)
Hala Hayek Najjar