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EU warns against Saudi interference, says Hariri must return to Lebanon

The resignation comes at a time of increasing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Date of publication: 15 November, 2017

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The European Union has urged former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon, who has reportedly been kept under de facto house arrest in Riyadh.
The European Union has urged Saad Hariri to return to Lebanon and called on all political forces in the country to turn their focus to domestic affairs.

Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: "We appeal first of all to the political forces to focus on Lebanon and what they can deliver to their citizens, Prime Minister Hariri to return to his country and the unity government...to focus on domestic achievements." 

"We expect no external interference in this national agenda. We believe it is essential to avoid importing into Lebanon regional conflicts," she added.

France's foreign minister also called on other countries to not interfere in Lebanon.

"We are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon... we are worried about its stability, we are worried about its integrity, we are worried about non-interference," Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

He added: "To reach a political solution in Lebanon, all political figures must have complete freedom of movement."

Lebanon's prime minister, Saad al-Hariri resigned during a televised statement while in Saudi Arabia, prompting some observers to suggest there was pressure from Riyadh.

There have been unconfirmed reports that he is under de facto house arrest in the kingdom.

Hariri appeared on Lebanon's Future TV on Sunday where he denied he was being held against his will, and said he was compelled to resign to save Lebanon from imminent dangers, which he didn't specify.

Hariri tweets: Guys I’m really well, and I’ll be returning in a few days let’s calm down, and my family will stay in their country Saudi Arabia, the good Kingdom

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept Hariri's resignation as it was announced outside Lebanon.

The resignation comes at a time of increasing tension between regional arch rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.  

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