Naharnet

Aoun Raises Concerns Over Circumstances Surrounding Hariri's Resignation

President Michel Aoun on Friday expressed concern over the circumstances surrounding the situation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the wake of his resignation amid reports that he is being held in Saudi Arabia, the National News Agency said.

Aoun reiterated his concern over “the circumstances surrounding the situation of Hariri and the necessity of its unraveling,” Aoun told members of the International Support Group for Lebanon whom he received at the Presidential Palace.

During his meeting Aoun, tackled Lebanon's position over the recent developments following the resignation of Hariri from abroad, and the circumstances of such an announcement.

He reassured ambassadors over "the awareness and solidarity manifested by Lebanese leaders at this delicate stage in the history of Lebanon, and their keenness to strengthen national unity which may help maintain the security and financial stability in the country,” NNA said.

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Philippe Lazzarini spoke on behalf of the group, praising the stances of Aoun, and his success in controlling the situation in the wake of the resignation.

"Members of the international group support the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and stress the importance of national unity," Lazzarini said.

The Ambassadors stressed "their countries' support for the President and their readiness to help find appropriate solutions to the current crisis."

Since Hariri's resignation on Saturday, Aoun has been holding series of meetings with foreign and Arab officials.

On Friday he received a number of officials including the Saudi Charge d'Affaires Walid al-Bukhari in addition to other figures.

Aoun told the Saudi envoy that the circumstances of Hariri’s resignation were “unacceptable,” reports said.

For his part, Bukhari did not make any statement after his meeting with Aoun.

"Finalizing the resignation is put on hold until the return of PM Hariri, and until the real reasons for his decision are revealed," Aoun said.

Hariri announced in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia on Saturday that he was stepping down, citing Iran's "grip" on Lebanon and threats to his life.

His resignation raised questions about the fate of Hariri, who also holds Saudi nationality, as it coincided with the announcement in Saudi Arabia of an anti-corruption purge in which dozens of princes, ministers and businessmen have been rounded up.


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