Jubeir Says Hizbullah Holding Lebanon Hostage, Must 'Disarm'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Friday accused Hizbullah, which Riyadh blames for the shock resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, of holding Lebanon hostage and using its banks to launder money.
Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Madrid that the Iran-backed group was destabilizing Lebanon by maintaining its arsenal and fighters in the country.
"You cannot have a militia with a military force that operates outside the scope of the government," he told reporters after talks with Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis.
"We see Hizbullah hijacking the Lebanese banking system to launder money, we see Hizbullah hijacking Lebanese ports in order to smuggle drugs, we see Hizbullah engaging in terrorist activities and interfering in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen," he added.
"Unless Hizbullah disarms and becomes a (solely) political party, Lebanon will be held hostage by Hizbullah and by extension Iran," he said.
"This is not acceptable to us and is not acceptable to the Lebanese," Jubeir added.
Lebanon was plunged into uncertainty this month after Hariri's shock resignation, announced on television from Riyadh.
Hariri said he was stepping down because of Hizbullah and Iran's "grip" over Lebanon.
The resignation -- which caught even some of Hariri's closest advisers off guard -- comes at a time of mounting tension between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are backing opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
His subsequent failure to return home to officially quit in person fueled claims that he was acting under orders from his Saudi patrons.
But both Hariri and Riyadh have denied allegations he was being held against his will, with the Lebanese leader on Friday dismissing all speculation about his situation as "rumors."
"We are supportive of Prime Minister Saad Hariri but we are against Hizbullah's takeover of Lebanon," Jubeir said.
Hariri was expected to leave Saudi Arabia for France later Friday, a move aimed at defusing political turmoil sparked by his resignation.