The Latest: Lebanon PM Hariri prays at father’s grave
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on the crisis following Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation while in Saudi Arabia more than two weeks ago (all times local):
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has visited the grave of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. It was Hariri’s first stop since returning to Beirut late Tuesday, more than two weeks after shocking the country by announcing his resignation while in Saudi Arabia.
After praying at the grave, Hariri retired to his home in central Beirut.
He arrived in Lebanon from Cyprus on Tuesday night, after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Hariri is expected to attend Lebanon’s independence day parade in the capital Wednesday. He will then meet with President Michel Aoun, who has said he would not accept Hariri’s resignation until he received it in person.
The prime minister’s shock resignation announcement on Nov. 4 set off speculation that he had been forced to step down by the Gulf kingdom and was being held there against his will. But he left Saudi Arabia for Paris on Saturday by invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, before traveling on to Beirut by way of Egypt and Cyprus.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has returned to Beirut more than two weeks after announcing while in Saudi Arabia that he had resigned his post.
The shock announcement set off speculation that Hariri had been forced to step down by the Gulf kingdom and was being held there against his will. But he left Saudi Arabia for Paris on Saturday by invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, before traveling on to Beirut by way of Egypt and Cyprus.
Hariri arrived in a private jet from Cyprus on Tuesday night, after meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
Hariri was leading a coalition government with his political opponents in the militant group Hezbollah when he stunned Lebanon by announcing his resignation in a televised statement from Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4. He accused Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage and hinted there was a plot against his life.
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Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has made an unexpected detour on what was assumed to be his flight home to Beirut and has instead landed in Cyprus to meet with President Nicos Anastasiades there.
Several photos show Hariri and Anastasiades meeting at what looks like Larnaca airport’s VIP lounge. Hariri departed from Cairo earlier in the evening on Tuesday, after talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Hariri is still expected to return to Lebanon, more than two weeks after his shock resignation from Saudi Arabia. He has said he’d be back in Beirut in time for Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.
Hariri’s media team announced on his Twitter account that he had flown to Cyprus instead.
His shock resignation on Nov. 4 set off speculation he was forced to step down by the Gulf kingdom and was being held there against his will. Hariri left Saudi Arabia on Saturday and visited Paris by invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron, then departed for Cairo on Tuesday.
His press office said he was traveling to Beirut.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has held talks with the Egyptian president on the political crisis triggered by his resignation.
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi together with France’s leader, Emmanuel Macron, is reportedly trying to mediate a solution that would involve rolling back Hariri’s resignation.
Hariri, who flew to Cairo from Paris earlier in the day, resigned in a televised message on Nov. 4 from Saudi Arabia, a highly unusual move that raised suspicions he may have been forced to step down by his Saudi patrons as part of Riyadh’s escalation against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. The Shiite militant group is a key member of Hariri’s ruling coalition and Lebanon’s single most dominant force.
A dual Saudi-Lebanese national with vast business interests in the kingdom, Hariri left for Lebanon after his talks with el-Sissi. Back home he is to attend Lebanon’s Independence Day celebration on Wednesday.