Lebanese President welcomes Hariri's remarks on planned return

Lebanese President welcomes Hariri's remarks on planned return

A dual Lebanese-Saudi national, the Saudi-allied Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation on November 4 in a pre-recorded message on Saudi TV, criticizing Iran and Hezbollah, and saying he feared for his safety.

Hariri was appointed prime minister late past year.

This followed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's purge and arrest of several members of the Saudi government and the death of one of his opponents in a helicopter crash at the same time.

Hariri refused supporting the Iran-backed guerrilla group, and announced his resignation the following day from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

In a statement on Saturday, the White House said it "rejects any efforts by militias within Lebanon or by any foreign forces to threaten Lebanon's stability.or use Lebanon as a base from which to threaten others in the region".

Saudi authorities have yet to comment on Nasrallah's assertions. Lebanon's top security agencies say they have no information to share about possible plots against the premier's life.

Hariri acknowledged in the interview that his resignation was unconventional, adding that he was ready to return to Lebanon to formally submit it and seek a settlement with Hezbollah.

Trump has cultivated much warmer ties with the Saudis after a fraught relationship with the Obama administration - the president made Riyadh his first stop on his maiden global trip - and has vowed to take strong action to confront Iran. "We will die for him", al-Masri said.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Patriarch Bishara al-Rai is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia later on Monday to meet with Saudi officials.

The missile was launched from Yemen, a country that Saudi Arabia has been bombing since 2015. The Houthis have denied that.

The United States regularly criticizes Iran and Hezbollah for their role in Lebanon.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "we are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon".

"We are anxious about its stability, we are anxious about its integrity", Le Drian said.

Hariri said he was a free man.

Hariri's interview on Sunday night, carried by Future TV, a channel associated with his political party, raised some new questions. He pleaded with the interviewer to finish the questioning and said he was "tired".

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".

Saudi Arabia's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi, asked whether Hariri is being detained, told a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York: "That's preposterous". So it's not unusual that Saad Hariri is in Saudi Arabia.

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