BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s president called on Saudi Arabia on Saturday to clarify why Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri could not return home, a week after he stunned his country by resigning while in the kingdom.
A senior Lebanese official said President Michel Aoun had told foreign ambassadors Hariri had been “kidnapped” and should have immunity.
Hariri’s shock resignation has thrust Lebanon back into the frontline of a power struggle between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite Iran – a rivalry that has wrought upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain.
“Lebanon does not accept its prime minister being in a situation at odds with international treaties,” Aoun said in a statement. He said any comment or move by Hariri “does not reflect reality” due to the questions over his status following his resignation in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia.
Lebanese authorities believe Riyadh is detaining Hariri who flew to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 3, two top Lebanese government officials, a senior politician close to Hariri and a fourth source have said.
French President Emmanuel Macron echoed similar concerns, saying in a call with Aoun on Saturday that “Lebanese political leaders should enjoy freedom of movement”.
Macron, who made an unscheduled visit to Riyadh earlier this week, will receive the Lebanese foreign minister in Paris on Tuesday, the Elysee statement
Article source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-politics-aoun/lebanese-president-presses-saudi-to-say-why-hariri-has-not-returned-idUSKBN1DB0ET
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