Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s recently resigned prime minister, is being held against his will by Saudi Arabia, which isn’t allowing him to return to Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said today.
Hariri’s abrupt resignation last week – which he announced from Saudi Arabia – was “illegitimate, unconstitutional, illegal and without value because it was done under duress”, Nasrallah said in televised comments.
Saudi Arabia, Nasrallah added, “believes it can impose a new prime minister on Lebanon”.
Contentiously, the Hezbollah chief went on to assert that he had information that Saudi Arabia had “asked Israel to strike Lebanon”.
The Saudi authorities, for their part, have yet to comment on Nasrallah’s assertions.
Last Saturday, Hariri abruptly announced his resignation from the Lebanese premiership in a televised address delivered from Riyadh.
In his resignation address, Hariri criticised Iran and Hezbollah, accusing them of sowing “sedition” in the region and meddling in Arab affairs.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, however, has yet to formally accept Hariri’s resignation and has asked the former prime minister to return to Lebanon so that he might “clarify” the situation.
In earlier remarks, Nasrallah had said there was “no reason” for Hariri to step down, accusing Saudi Arabia of forcing him to resign.
On Monday, Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan dismissed the claims, describing them as “lies” disseminated by Hezbollah.
Two top Lebanese government officials said yesterday that Riyadh was holding Hariri captive and a third told Reuters that the Saudi authorities had ordered Hariri to resign while he was in Riyadh last weekend, and put him under house arrest.
However, France’s foreign minister said today he believed Hariri was not under house arrest in Saudi Arabia and did not have any particular constraints on his movements.
The US refused to comment on the allegations