Tabnak – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s sudden resignation in Saudi Arabia has created a political puzzle yet to be solved. Meanwhile, political figures from different Lebanese factions are urging Hariri to return home.
A Lebanese political party led by Saad Hariri, who recently resigned in Saudi Arabia, says the politician is still the country's prime minister. In a televised statement on Thursday, Future Movement threw its weight behind Hariri, calling for his immediate return to Lebanon.
"We confirm our support for Prime Minister Saad Hariri and for all the decisions he makes under any circumstances,” the movement said, adding that Hariri’s return "is necessary to restoring the internal and external balance of Lebanon with full respect to Lebanese legitimacy.”
Separately, top Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt called for the return of Hariri. The leader of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party took to Twitter on Friday and said "be it forced or voluntary,” it is "time for Sheikh Saad to return.”
"By the way, there is no alternative to him,” said the influential Druze politician, adding that his presence is needed in Lebanon amid joint efforts "to complete the process of building and stability.”
In another related development, French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for hastily scheduled talks with the kingdom’s leaders about the puzzling political crisis involving Saad Hariri.
On his debut visit to the kingdom, Macron landed in Riyadh on Thursday night and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud who welcomed him at the airport.
The French head of state announced the surprise visit at a press conference in Dubai earlier in the day, wrapping up a two-day stop in the United Arab Emirates on his debut Middle East tour.
Macron said he wanted to discuss "regional questions” with the ambitious Saudi crown prince and "emphasize the importance of Lebanese stability and integrity.”
"My wish is that all Lebanese political officials live freely in Lebanon... which means having a very demanding stance on those who could threaten any leader,” the French president said, ostensibly referring to Hariri’s claim that he could not return to Lebanon because his life was in danger there.
It should be noted that two top Lebanese government officials said on Thursday that Riyadh was holding Lebanon’s Saad al-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.
British newspaper The Independent also reported on Thursday that the Saudi officials had first invited Hariri for a meeting with the Saudi King Salman and then pressured him to resign, which he later did in front of the TV cameras.
Hariri’s departure has sent shockwaves throughout Lebanon as the country is struggling to maintain stability at a time when much of the Middle East is gripped with Takfiri violence rooted in Saudi Arabia.