Saad Hariri: Lebanon return from Saudi Arabia 'within days'

Missing Lebanese PM test case of Saudi Arabia's emboldened new foreign policy

Hariri plans to return to Lebanon, warns of sanctions over Hezbollah

A dual Lebanese-Saudi national, the Saudi-allied Hariri unexpectedly announced his resignation on November 4 in a pre-recorded message on Saudi TV, criticizing Iran and Hezbollah, and saying he feared for his safety.

He indicated the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese in the Gulf could be at risk, as well as trade, vital to the stability of the Lebanese economy.

He repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon — his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a auto bomb in Beirut in 2005 — but he added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal.

The comments came in Hariri's first TV interview since his resignation announcement, in which he lashed out harshly at Hezbollah and its patron Iran.

Saad Hariri announced his shock resignation in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyad, sparking fears he was being held under duress.

In a statement from his office, Aoun said "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 family".

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and Iran, accusing both of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen.

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"If we want to go back on the resignation, we have to return to the policy of distancing ourselves" from regional conflicts", he said, according to the Associated Press.

"We hope that Hariri will return to Lebanon as soon as possible" and formally submit his resignation, he said.

"I am not against Hezbollah as a party, I have a problem with Hezbollah destroying the country", Hariri said during the interview. He vowed to return to Lebanon "within days". Once he returns, Aoun tweeted, "we will listen to him about all circumstances, topics and concerns that need addressing". Then, when an quake was reported in Iraq and Iran, she referenced it, telling Hariri it was to make sure people believed the interview was live. "Everyone may not agree with Hariri's politics, but he is our prime minister". She first read the time from her phone and then reported to Hariri developments in Lebanon, including protests.

Hariri was appointed prime minister late past year.

Hariri said he "can't be the only one making concessions while the others do whatever they want".

"We are in the eye of the storm", he said.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack, saying the missiles bore "Iranian markings".

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