Missing Lebanese PM test case of Saudi Arabia's emboldened new foreign policy


"We appeal first of all to the political forces to focus on Lebanon and what they can deliver to their citizens, Prime Minister Hariri to return to his country and the unity government.to focus on domestic achievements", the bloc's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, told reporters.

Representatives of the Lebanese government have demanded that Hariri be returned from Saudi Arabia as rumors that he has been arrested continue to circulate.

Aoun has repeatedly sought clarification from Riyadh as to why Hariri has not been allowed to return to Beirut following his startling resignation announcement.

In an interview with a television station that he owns, the Saudi-allied Hariri, Lebanon's most influential Sunni Muslim politician, gave his first public comments since he read out his resignation on television from Riyadh eight days ago.

Hariri also accused Iran and the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, of meddling in the Arab countries' affairs; an allegation the two have rejected.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and Iran, accusing both of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen.

However, Mr Hariri also held out the prospect that he might reconsider resigning if Hezbollah stopped intervening in neighbouring countries.

"The EU urges the coalition to ensure the immediate resumption of the UN's flights and activities in the ports of Hodeida and Saleef and the opening of land borders for humanitarian relief and basic commercial commodities". Hezbollah says it was the Saudis who have declared war on Lebanon.

"He physically looked not at ease, and what he was saying was very contradictory to many people in Lebanon - saying that he is free when he didn't look free; saying that he is doing this to help Lebanon when perhaps it was actually more to help Saudi Arabia", added Khouri.

The interviewer explained that the appearance of the man caught on camera was a technical error and proved at least that the interview was conducted live and was not recorded.

"We will carry these concerns to the king and crown prince and wish well", he said.

Aoun made the remarks in a meeting with foreign ambassadors in the capital Beirut, a senior unnamed Lebanese official said on Saturday.

Under Lebanese law the prime minister has to submit his resignation to the president, who must accept it for it to take effect.

"Really, I consider him a brother and he considers me a brother".

"We are worried about its stability, we are worried about its integrity", Le Drian said.

The main problem for the region, he said, was "Iran interfering in Arab states".

Geekie said no aid had gone into Aden yet and the reopening of the Wadea crossing did not affect UN operations.

"There can be no alternative for all these ports being fully functional and receiving commercial and humanitarian cargo", Geekie said.