Lebanese President Michel Aoun
Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Lebanese President welcomes Hariri’s remarks on planned return

Beirut   –     President Michel Aoun of Lebanon on Monday welcomed the remarks made by outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri that he would return to Lebanon.

“I am pleased that Prime Minister Hariri has announced he will return to Lebanon soon, and we will then discuss all the circumstances, issues and concerns that need to be addressed,’’ Aoun tweeted.

Hariri appeared for the first time in a television interview on Sunday, one week after quitting his post as premier.

He has been staying in Saudi Arabia where he announced his surprise resignation, sparking claims that he is being held there against his will.

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In an interview with Lebanon’s Future Television, the mouthpiece of his political party, Hariri denied the claims and promised to return to Lebanon “very soon.’’

Hariri hinted that he could go back on his resignation if the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah stops its alleged involvement in regional conflicts.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Patriarch Bishara al-Rai is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia later on Monday to meet with Saudi officials.

The patriarch, who heads Lebanese Maronite Christians, is scheduled to hold talks with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hariri.

Hariri’s resignation has provoked international fears that Lebanon could be sucked into a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival Iran.

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Saudi Arabia and Iran are backing opposite sides in wars in Syria and Yemen.

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