Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri

by Abel Hampton November 17, 2017, 0:34
Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri

He branded the detaining of Hariri, who is still legally the prime minister of Lebanon (you can't resign long distance in Lebanese law), "a demonstration of enmity" against Lebanon.

Cardinal Bechara el-Rai's visit, the first ever by a Maronite patriarch to the kingdom according to the cardinal, has taken on special significance since Hariri announced his resignation in a surprise statement broadcast from Riyadh on November 4.

Mr. Jubeir said Hezbollah, which he described as a subsidiary of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, must disarm and become a political party for Lebanon to stabilise. Tehran has accused Riyadh and its allies of trying to stoke tension in the Middle East. In an interview on Sunday, his first public comments since resigning, Hariri said he is free to leave and would return home soon to formally submit his resignation. The comments were his first in public since he quit from Riyadh on November 4.

Hariri, who has always been close to Saudi authorities, insisted in an interview with his party's television channel over the weekend that he had freedom of movement and would return to Lebanon in the coming days.

In his resignation speech televised from Saudi Arabia, Hariri denounced Iran and Hezbollah for sowing friction in Arab states and said he feared assassination. He said on Thursday on Twitter he hoped "the crisis is over" and the France visit would open the door to a solution. He added that Hariri's resignation had been expected in light of Hezbollah's continuous militant operations outside the country's borders. He said that Saudi Arabia had violated the International Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, given that the prime minister is being held without charge. Politicians from all sides in Lebanon have called for his return to Beirut.

But Bassil, who is on a European tour seeking support for his country amid the crisis, said that Lebanon also has the option of resorting to worldwide law, without elaborating.

Paris is uniquely placed as a go-between - having strong ties with both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon as well as a closer connection to Trump than that of other European leaders. On Thursday he was in Germany and scheduled to visit Turkey.

Hezbollah, a group of Iran-backed Shiite Muslims centered in Lebanon, is the dominant political and military force in Lebanon. "Hezbollah has kidnapped the Lebanese system", he said.

Meanwhile, in Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom "rejected" allegations that it is holding Hariri against his will.

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