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

Saad Hariri on a poster in Beirut

Saad Hariri on a poster in Beirut

Riyadh has for its part been accused of being behind last weekend's resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, in a televised address from Riyadh.

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

In an interview with a television station that he owns, the Saudi-allied Hariri, Lebanon's most influential Sunni Muslim politician, gave his first public comments since he read out his resignation on television from Riyadh eight days ago.

A statement released by Aoun's office later said that the national and diplomatic campaign in the country over the past days demanding Hariri's return "has produced positive results".

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has yet to formally accept Hariri's resignation and has criticized the circumstances surrounding it as "unacceptable".

"We never meddle in other countries' internal affairs and the issue of Hariri ('s resignation) is up to the people of Lebanon".

"The obscurity regarding Hariri's conditions makes anything that he says or does not reflect truth", said Aoun, cited by News18.com. His father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Beirut in 2005.

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

Representatives of the Lebanese government have demanded that Hariri be returned from Saudi Arabia as rumors that he has been arrested continue to circulate.

"Whatever he chooses, we are with him". Hariri's family lives in Riyadh. We want him to first come to Lebanon.

Asked why Hariri was wearing the same suit for three days, he said: "I said I'm not responsible for his closet".

The announcement comes after Yemeni transport minister Murad Al Halimi said on Friday that airports in the government-held cities of Aden and Seiyun, in Hadramawt province, would be reopening.

Next to Saad Hariri was a photograph of the man they alleged to be his captor: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"I am freely in the Kingdom, and if I want to travel tomorrow, I will travel".

Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, head of the Maronite church, Lebanon's largest Christian community, was heading to Saudi Arabia on November 13 and was expected to meet with Hariri, the Associated Press reported.

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