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Hezbollah leader blasts 'unprecedented Saudi intervention' in Lebanon

Hezbollah leader blasts 'unprecedented Saudi intervention' in Lebanon
From CBC - November 10, 2017

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says Saudi Arabia has declared war on Lebanon and Hezbollah, adding that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned in a speech from Riyadh on Saturday, was being detained in Saudi.

In a televised address, Nasrallah said Hariri's resignation was an "unprecedented Saudi intervention" in Lebanese politics and called for Hariri to return to Lebanon. He said Lebanon's government was still legitimate and had not resigned.

"Let us say things as they are: the man is detained in Saudi Arabia and and forbidden until this moment from returning to Lebanon," Nasrallah said.

"It is clear that Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials have declared war on Lebanon and on Hezbollah in Lebanon," he added.

Since Hariri's announcement, Saudi Arabia has accused Lebanon and its Shia Hezbollah movement of declaring war on it. Riyadh has advised Saudi citizens not to travel to Lebanon, or if already there to leave as soon as possible. Other Gulf states have also issued travel warnings.

Meanwhile, Lebanese President Michel Aoun told Saudi Arabia's envoy on Friday that Hariri must return, presidential sources said.

The Lebanese authorities believe Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia, two top Lebanese government officials, a senior politician close to Hariri and a fourth source told Reuters on Thursday, amid a deepening crisis pushing Lebanon onto the frontlines of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

On Thursday, Hariri's Future Movement political party said his return home was necessary to uphold the Lebanese system, describing him as prime minister and a national leader. Aoun has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to Lebanon to deliver it to him in person and explain his reasons.

Riyadh says Hariri, a long-time Saudi ally, is a free man and that it had nothing to do with his decision to announce his resignation on Saturday while in Saudi Arabia.

The conflict has raised concern that Riyadh could take measures against Lebanon, which hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Lebanon, where Sunnis, Shia, Christians and Druze, all backed by rival regional powers, fought a civil war from 1975-1990, maintains a governing system designed to ensure each group is represented.

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