Aoun Says Hariri 'Detained' in Saudi Arabia, PM Denies

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President Michel Aoun on Wednesday accused Saudi Arabia of having "detained" Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced his resignation in a statement from the kingdom earlier this month.

"Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return for 12 days, therefore we consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention," Aoun said in a tweet on the official Lebanese presidency account.

Speaking to Lebanese media executives, Aoun also accused Saudi Arabia of committing a "hostile act against Lebanon."

Speculation has swirled about the circumstances of Hariri's resignation since his surprise announcement on November 4 in a statement read on Saudi Arabia's Al-Arabiya television channel.

There have been rumors that the prime minister, who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom, had been detained along with dozens of Saudis in what Riyadh says is an anti-corruption campaign.

Hours after Aoun's statement, Hariri took to Twitter in an apparent bid to quell rumours of his detention. 

"I want to repeat and confirm: I am totally, totally fine and I'll come back, God willing, to beloved Lebanon like I promised you all. You'll see," he wrote.

It was his second tweet in two days seeking to dispel concerns that he was being held against his will.

"Guys, I am perfectly fine, and God willing I will return in the coming days. Let's calm down," he said on Tuesday, in his first tweet in more than a week.

Hariri, who has long 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.

But he has yet to show any sign of coming home, and statements from France and other countries have fuelled speculation that he is being held in Saudi Arabia.

Aoun has yet to officially accept Hariri's resignation, and has said he will not do so before meeting the premier in person in Lebanon.

"No decision can be made on a resignation from abroad," he reiterated in a tweet on the presidency's account on Wednesday.

"He should return to Lebanon to present his resignation or withdraw it, or to discuss the reasons for it and how to address them.

"We cannot extend this wait and lose time, we cannot stop state affairs." 

Aoun sought however to calm fears about Lebanon's stability in the face of the political crisis.

"Do not be afraid, whether economically, financially or in terms of security," he said.

"The country is safe and the financial markets are functioning properly."

Comments 5
Thumb tric.portugal 15 November 2017, 12:16

the Saudis have imunitie international !!!the Europe ( in Europe, includes Russia ) and the White House give them imunitie after the Daesh Kingdom buy the Army Industrie of the West...When the Saudis put a knife in the Head of Cristhians in Lebanon and the West blablabla...this only demonstrated the decadence of the West !!

Thumb ___flamethrower___ 15 November 2017, 14:19

Best Iranian President, ever!

Thumb barrymore 15 November 2017, 14:48

You see, Aoun never threatened Hariri with his life and it is not documented or on youtube so his troll is voting you down.

Thumb justin 15 November 2017, 15:04

Aoun is not hiding he is in the Iranian camp anymore. He joined in the campaign as well against Hariri and KSA.

To be honest, the Lebanese are tired of you! Who cares whether Hariri is free or not anymore. We care about the real issues and these issues are: Hezbollah is a danger to Lebanon and its people. There is too much at stake here.

We cannot afford to be enemies of the Arab World.

Thumb shab 15 November 2017, 17:55

lool @ Aoun says