Saudi says coalition will begin reopening Yemen air and seaports

A poster depicting Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri who has resigned from his post is seen in Beirut
Credit
Reuters

He repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon — his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Beirut in 2005 — but he added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal.

"I wrote (my resignation) with my own hand", he said, rebuffing claims that he was being forced into resigning by Riyadh.

"Lebanon's issues are related to the Lebanese themselves and we will not interfere in Lebanon's issues and based on our principled policies, we never interfere in other countries' internal affairs", Qassemi told reporters in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Monday.

Hariri announced on November 4 his resignation from Riyadh in a shocking move. He has friends and supporters and interests and so forth, first and foremost among them the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, whom Saad Hariri said he look up as a father figures.

"We expect no external interference in this national agenda". We're a small country. He also seemed to indicate he did not support Hezbollah becoming involved in a conflict against Israel. Tillerson's backing of Hariri and the Lebanese government contrasted sharply with the approach taken by Saudi Arabia, which has lumped Lebanon with Hezbollah as parties hostile to it.

Tillerson was "not going along with the Saudi position in describing the Lebanese state as under capture by Hezbollah", said Paul Salem, the senior vice president of the Middle East Institute, a Washington think tank.

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In his announcement last week, Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of taking over his country and destabilizing the broader region, saying he feared for his life. On Saturday, President Aoun asked Saudi Arabia to "clarify the reasons that have prevented the return of PM Hariri to Lebanon ".

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (C) and Jordan's King Abdullah II (unseen) review the honor guard during an official welcome ceremony at Marka airport in Amman on February 14, 2017.

"There's been a slight easing in concerns that a proxy conflict will erupt between Iran and Saudi Arabia", said Jason Tuvey, an economist at Capital Economics. He added that anything Hariri has said or may say "does not reflect reality" due to the mystery of his situation.

Just hours before Hariri's interview on Sunday, Aoun blasted the "obscure circumstances" around the resigned prime minister's stay in Riyadh.

Saudi authorities have yet to comment on Nasrallah's assertions. "It's an excellent and special relationship", he said.

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