Lebanon's PM Assures Country He Will Be Home 'Very Soon'
By VOA News November 12, 2017
Lebanon's prime minister, Saad Hariri, assured the country Sunday he will come home "very soon" from Saudi Arabia, where he announced his stunning resignation last November 4.
Hariri gave an interview to his own party's Future TV from Riyadh. He denied being under arrest or that the Saudis forced him to resign to break up his coalition government with Hezbollah.
He said the decision to quit was entirely his own, saying he wanted to bring a "positive shock" to Lebanon. He said the country is in imminent danger, but did not specify from whom or what.
Thousands of runners and spectators taking part in Lebanon's annual marathon Sunday demanded the prime minister return. Some waved signs saying "Waiting for You."
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has still not accepted Hariri's resignation. Before Sunday's televised interview with Hariri, Aoun issued a statement saying the prime minister is in Saudi Arabia under "obscure circumstances."
"Hariri's freedom has been restricted and conditions have been imposed regarding his residence and the contacts he may have, even with members of his own family," it said.
Hariri has dual Lebanese-Saudi citizenship. He said in his surprise resignation speech on Saudi television that Hezbollah and its Iranian backers are plotting to take over the country - a move he said would destabilize the entire Middle East.
Hariri also says he fears for his life. Hezbollah was blamed for the 2005 car bombimg that killed his father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
The chief of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, said last week that the Saudis pressured Hariri to resign, saying the prime minister never had any intention to quit.
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