Lebanon's PM breaks his silence after shock resignation

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 08:04:35 AM. Saad Hariri's resignation may look like small fish but this latest episode has put Lebanon on the back foot as the Saudis ramp up a confrontation with Iran, writes Matt Brown.
Photo: Saad Hariri announced his resignation as prime minister this past weekend. (AP: Hassan Ammar, file photo) Lebanon's Prime Minister-in-limbo, Saad Hariri, has broken his silence more than a week after he announced his shock resignation from the Saudi Arabian capital. He attempted to dismiss reports he has been held by his Saudi patrons under some form of duress and foreshadowed greater confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. He said he was "completely free" in Saudi Arabia and could leave any time he wished. But hours before the interview went to air, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said the Saudis have imposed restrictions on Mr Hariri's movement and contact with his family, and cast doubt on his ability to speak frankly. While Mr Aoun is allied to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese movement that is an arch rival of both the Saudis and Mr Hariri, his take on Mr Hariri's predicament mirrored multiple independent reports, and his scepticism about what Mr Hariri could say while still in Saudi Arabia is shared by many Lebanese. Mr Hariri repeated his claim of an assassination plot against him, saying he had been "infiltrated" and didn't want to share the fate of his father, former prime minister Rafic Hariri, who was killed in a massive car bomb in 2005. Choking back tears, he said he would return to Lebanon "very soon" to formally tender his resignation. But if Mr Hariri is not a hostage of the Saudis, he is hostage to their cause. He said he could not...Read more
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