IFP – Media reports say that Riyadh is going to allow Saad Hariri, the Lebanese premier who declared his resignation in Saudi Arabia, to have a short visit to Beirut before leaving for Europe, where he is supposed to live for the rest of his life.
Following Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s statements that he would decide about Hariri’s resignation only after he returns to Lebanon and hands over his resignation letter personally, it seems that Riyadh is seeking to pave the way for Hariri to have a short visit to Beirut to officially announce his resignation.
Reports say Saudi Arabia has banned Hariri from holding any meetings outside Beirut, a Farsi report by Tasnim said.
Saudis Planning to Cut Ties between Hariri, Lebanese Leaders
An unknown source said the Saudis may even refuse to announce the exact date of Hariri’s short visit to Beirut because he is expected to go directly to the presidential palace to hand over his resignation letter to the president of Lebanon.
The source went on to say that Saudi Arabia is seeking to prevent Hariri from having any meeting with the Lebanese leaders including Future Movement leaders during his short visit to Beirut.
Saudi Arabia Calls Hariri Family Members to Riyadh
Meanwhile, media reports say Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has called the family members of late Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafic Hairi, to Riyadh for swearing allegiance with Bahaa Hariri, his second son.
Amid concerns over the latest developments in Lebanon in connection with the abrupt resignation of Saad Hariri, bin Salman has called Hariri’s family members to Riyadh to swear allegiance with Bahaa Hariri as the new leader of Future Movement, a report by al-Akhbar said on Thursday.
According to the report, the Saudi officials have come to the conclusion that given the current political situation in Lebanon, Saad Hariri’s resignation has been accepted neither by Future Movement nor the Sunni population of the country. “So, the Saudis are deeply worried about the growing doubts among the Lebanese and particularly Saad Hariri’s supporters who say why Hariri is not allowed to return to his country from Saudi Arabia.”
But amid the latest developments unfolded last night, intelligence sources in Lebanon quoted a Saudi agent as saying bin Salman has decided to announce Bahaa Hariri as the next leader of Lebanon’s Future Movement.
What Is Urgent Message of Saudis to Hariri’s Family?
The newly-appointed Saudi Ambassador to Beirut, Waleed Yakoob, has contacted the members of late Lebanese prime minister’s family in Lebanon including his wife and sister saying Saudi officials need them to visit Riyadh to swear allegiance with Bahaa Hariri as the next leader of Future Movement.
Al-Akhbar went on to say Saad Hariri has announced his agreement with the leadership of Bahaa in return for his freedom. “Then Saad can leave Saudi Arabia for Europe and spend the rest of his time there far from any political activity.”
Interestingly enough, some of Hariri family members who are critical of the Saudi Arabia’s policies have not been called to Riyadh.
Saad Hariri’s Fate Hanging in Balance
Reports say Saad Hariri is set to return to Beirut and deliver his resignation letter officially to the country’s president. Then, reports say, he is expected to leave Beirut following swearing allegiance with his younger brother.
Hariri Family’s Serious Efforts to Release Saad
On the other hand, Hariri’s family members in Beirut have decided not to reply immediately to Saudi Arabia’s call. They are now involved in negotiations with officials in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, France and the US to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to release Saad. They had also warned about Saudi Arabian crown prince’s policies.
Hariri Family Members Remain Silent
In response to reporters’ calls for comments, the elder sister of Saad, Nazik, said it is too early for any decision. But Bahaa who is now in Riyadh has said he does not know what is going on. He immediately turned off his phone.
This comes as a media team affiliated with Saudi Arabian Minister of State for the Arab-Persian Gulf, Thamer al-Sabhan, released a statement on Wednesday saying Saad Hariri has a good condition in Saudi Arabia and would get back to Beirut soon.
Reports say there have been some changes in the security measures around his residential building and he is now allowed to visit the relatives of his wife in Saudi Arabia.