Beirut: The party of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, who unexpectedly quit a week ago while in Saudi Arabia, denounced on Saturday attacks against the kingdom and Iranian intervention in Arab countries.
Hariri’s Future Movement political party said it stands by him and was “waiting impatiently for his return to Lebanon to handle his national responsibilities in leading this stage.”
Hariri’s shock resignation, in a broadcast from Riyadh last week, has plunged Lebanon into crisis and thrust it back into the forefront of regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
On Saturday Lebanon’s president called on Saudi Arabia to clarify why Hariri could not return home, a week after he stunned his home country by announcing his resignation while in the kingdom.
A senior Lebanese official said President Michel Aoun had told foreign ambassadors Hariri had been “kidnapped” and should have immunity. Riyadh and Hariri both vehemently denies the charge.
Hariri’s resignation, which surprised even his close aides, has plunged Lebanon into crisis. It has thrust the country back into the frontline of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran—a rivalry that has wrought upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain.
Riyadh says Hariri is free and decided to resign because Iran’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, was calling the shots in his coalition government.
Hariri has made no public remarks since quitting last week, when he said he feared assassination and accused Iran along with Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.
Hariri, whose family made its fortune in the Saudi construction industry, has also given no sign of when he might return to Beirut.
Meanwhile, runners who took part in Lebanon’s annual marathon on Sunday urged Hariri to return home.
Spectators along the 42.2 kilometre course held signs reading “Running for you” and “Waiting for you,” addressed to the prime minister, who participated in past races.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun had encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return.