Saad Hariri: Lebanon president says Saudis detaining PM

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Current unrest in the region started on November 4, when the prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, announced his resignation by reading a statement on live television.

The European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday after a meeting with Bassil that she expected Hariri and his family to return to Lebanon in the coming days.

Hariri, who also holds Saudi nationality, left on November 3 for Riyadh and a day later announced his resignation and since then he remains in the Kingdom, despite appeals from the entire Lebanese political class, including his Future Movement party.

Saad Hariri, who headed a year-old coalition government that included Hezbollah, cited Iran and Hezbollah's meddling in the region for his decision to step down. He said Hariri needed to return to Lebanon to prove he was free.

"Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return for 12 days, therefore we consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention", Aoun said in a tweet on the official Lebanese presidency account.

Hariri's resignation came against the backdrop of mounting tensions between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shiite Muslim Iran, which back opposing sides in power struggles in hotspots such as Syria and Yemen.

Aoun, who has not accepted his resignation, said he must return "because the affairs of the state cannot be stopped".

"Hariri's remarks on Sunday gave small hope of the possibility of his return to Lebanon..."

In his first public statement, sent to The Associated Press, Bahaa Hariri accused Hezbollah of seeking "to take control of Lebanon". "He was handed over to the Lebanese army intelligence", the agency reported.

"After talking with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the president of the Republic has invited Saad Hariri and his family to France", the Elysee said in a brief statement.

However, Nasrallah has also said that he would not comment on Hariri's speech that he gave to announce his resignation because he saw it as a "Saudi statement".

According to the president, it is not possible to make a decision about a resignation filed from overseas.

Hezbollah's Lebanese opponents have long demanded it disarm.

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