Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018

Resigned as prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri's whereabouts have since been unknown


Foto : Saad HaririFoto : Saad Hariri - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have advised their citizens not to travel to Lebanon and urged those who are in the country to leave as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia's official news agency SPA quoted a source in the foreign ministry on Thursday as saying: "Due to the situations in the Republic of Lebanon, the official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Saudi nationals visiting or residing in Lebanon are asked to leave the country as soon as possible. The Kingdom advised all citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations."

Only hours later, Kuwait and the UAE also urged its nationals to leave Lebanon immediately.

Bahrain, an ally of Saudi Arabia had already ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon on Sunday, November 6 2017.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, announced his resign while on a visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, November 5 2017. His whereabouts have since been unknown. However, officials told on Thursday, November 9 2017 that Hariri may be under house arrest or temporarily detained in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Reuters news agency reported on Thursday, citing a senior Lebanese official, that the Lebanese government has not received Hariri's official resignation papers, and as such still considers him as prime minister.

Riyadh has denied that the prime minister is under house arrest.

In his November 4 2017 resignation, Hariri implicitly blamed Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, for his decision. In his speech, he said that he suspected there were plans to target his life. Hariri, a leading Sunni politician, has been in office for less than a year, but previously served as prime minister between 2009 and 2011.

His father, Rafik Hariri - who also served as prime minister - was killed by in a bomb attack in 2005. Many of Hariri's supporters blamed the bombing on Hezbollah, which denies it was involved.

In his address from Riyadh, Saad al-Hariri said Iran planted disorder and destruction in the country and meddled in the internal issues of Lebanon as well as other Arab countries.

"They have built a state within a state," Hariri said from Riyadh.

His unexpected move also stoked fears of an escalation in the regional divide between Iran and the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, with Lebanon on the front lines.


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