Rabat - Since speculations of Saad al Hariri’s detention in Saudi Arabia, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has for the first time explicitly accused Saudi Arabia of holding his prime minister in forced custody, calling this an “act of aggression.”
Rabat – Since speculations of Saad al Hariri’s detention in Saudi Arabia, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has for the first time explicitly accused Saudi Arabia of holding his prime minister in forced custody, calling this an “act of aggression.”
While Hariri said in a televised interview on Sunday night that he was “free to leave Saudi Arabia” and would go back to Lebanon in the upcoming days, for the president, his stay in the Riyadh is “not justified.”
“We will not accept him remaining a hostage whose reason for detention we do not know,” wrote Aoun on Twitter..
“Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Hariri to return for 12 days. Therefore, we consider him to be held and detained, in violation of the Vienna Convention and human rights law.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil also expressed the same worries, saying that the situation was “not normal” and that Lebanon wanted “good relations” with Saudi Arabia.
On the same platform, Hariri responded, saying, “I want to repeat and affirm that I am perfectly fine and I will return, God willing, to dear Lebanon as I promised you, you’ll see.”
Riyadh has denied detaining Hariri or pressuring him to resign.
The Lebanese president has previously condemned Hariri’s surprise resignation but had not gone as far as to accuse Saudi Arabia of detaining him. “The way in which Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned was unacceptable,” he said.
The Lebanese president has not accepted Hariri’s resignation, amidst claims by Hezbollah that Saudi Arabia wanted to “remove Hariri as prime minister and impose a new leadership on his political movement,” according to the BBC.
The Sunni prime minister has long opposed the Iran-backed Hezbollah. In his resignation speech, he said that “Iran and its followers [Hezbollah] are losing in their interference in the affairs of Arab nations, and our nation will rise as it did before and the hands that are extended to it with evil will be cut off.”
His damning accusations did not stop the group from defending him. “We condemn the blunt, bare-faced Saudi intervention in our domestic affairs,” Nasrallah said.
“Any offence to the Lebanese prime minister is an offence to all Lebanese, even when he is our adversary.”