Lebanon PM, to return to Beirut ‘in coming days’ _98809333_043069076-1

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri has said he will return to Beirut in the coming days, and will then clarify his shock decision to resign, BBC report.

He quit two weeks ago during a visit to Saudi Arabia, but President Michel Aoun refused to accept the resignation.

Mr Hariri denied being held in Riyadh against his will, amid speculation the Saudis had forced him to quit as part of a regional power struggle with Iran.

Mr Hariri was speaking after meeting France’s president in Paris.

Mr Hariri said: “I will go to Beirut in the coming days. I will participate in the independence celebrations, and it is there that I will make known my position on these subjects after meeting President Aoun.”

What sparked this crisis?

It was during a trip to Saudi Arabia on 4 November that Mr Hariri abruptly announced he was resigning.

In a televised announcement, Mr Hariri accused Iran of sowing “discord, devastation and destruction” in the region. He also accused Iran’s ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, which is part of a national unity government that Mr Hariri formed last year, of destabilising his nation.

He also said he feared for his life. Several members of Hezbollah are being tried at a UN-backed tribunal at The Hague over the car-bomb assassination of Mr Hariri’s ex-PM father, Rafik, in 2005.

President Aoun refused to accept the resignation, accusing the Saudis of holding Mr Hariri against his will. The Saudis and Mr Hariri have denied this.

“To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie,” Mr Hariri said in a Twitter post.

Saudi Arabia recalled its envoy to Berlin over comments by Germany’s foreign minister suggesting Mr Hariri was being held against his will.