TEHRAN – Top Lebanese figures have called for the country’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s release from Saudi Arabia and his return to Beirut following his unusual resignation.
Lebanese leaders have stepped up demands for the return of Saad Hariri, insisting his resignation as prime minister in Riyadh last week was made under duress and that his Saudi hosts have limited his movements.
Even, Hariri aids and his party are not sure about real reasons for his mysterious resignation and his status in Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, Hariri’s Future Movement political party said his return home was necessary to uphold the Lebanese system, describing him as prime minister and a national leader.
“The return of the Lebanese prime minister, the national leader, Saad Hariri, and the head of the Future Movement, is necessary to restore the dignity and respect to Lebanon at home and abroad,” the Future Movement said in a statement read by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who heads this parliamentary bloc.
Hariri repatriation has become a national demand and top Lebanese Druze politician Walid Jumblatt said on Friday it was time that Hariri returns back home.
Jumblatt said in a Twitter post that after a week of absence from Lebanon, “be it forced or voluntary”, it was “time for Sheikh Saad to return”.
“By the way, there is no alternative to him,” he added.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has also called for Hariri’s return and told Saudi Arabia’s envoy on Friday that Hariri must return to Lebanon and the circumstances surrounding his resignation were unacceptable.
Aoun said, “We condemn the blunt, bare-faced Saudi intervention in our domestic affairs. Any offence to the Lebanese prime minister is an offence to all Lebanese, even when he is our adversary.”
The Lebanese president has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to Lebanon to deliver it to him in person and explain his reasons.
In the meantime, Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah Resistance Movement Seyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday warned about new Saudi-Israeli plot in the region, and said the country’s prime minister is now a hostage in Saudi Arabia.
“Hariri is a prisoner in Saudi Arabia, and cannot return to his own country. Saudi Arabia is seeking to impose its will on the Lebanese government. It is trying to sow the seeds of discord among various political factions here and pit them against each other,” Nasrallah said.
Reports say the Saudi regime had ordered Hariri to resign in an effort to destabilize Lebanon.
Saad Hariri is the son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. Hariri has also been the leader of the Future Movement party since 2005.
He became prime minister in 2016 after serving another term between November 2009 and June 2011.