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Lebanon's PM says he will return in next 2 days

November 14, 2017 2:23 PM
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Lebanon's PM says he will return in next 2 days

BEIRUT -- Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who plunged the country into crisis with his surprise resignation during a trip to Saudi Arabia, says he will return home in the next two days.

In his first tweet in more than a week, Hariri told his followers that he is OK, and that he would be returning without his family, who will stay "in their home" in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the Nov. 4 resignation, which came under mysterious circumstances, until Hariri returns to the country.

Lebanon has insisted the resignation was forced by Hariri's Saudi patrons and that he is being kept in the kingdom against his will. Hariri denied those reports in a Sunday TV interview and said he'll return to Lebanon within days.

Some Lebanese officials have said he should return with his family, so he could be free of any Saudi pressure.

Hariri's resignation came amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Hariri lashed out at Lebanon's militant Hezbollah movement in his resignation speech and said he feared for his safety. Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that is also a member of Hariri's coalition government, has cast his resignation as a Saudi plot to plunge Lebanon into chaos, and has called on him to return.

Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi national, has homes in Saudi Arabia. His wife and children have been living in Saudi Arabia for years.

Earlier Tuesday, Lebanon's foreign minister flew to Brussels on the first leg of a European tour that aims to rally support for his country's stability following Hariri's resignation.

Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil's first stop on Tuesday was in Brussels, followed by Paris. The visit aims to rally diplomatic support and explain Lebanon's predicament following Hariri's move.

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