Lebanon foreign minister starts Europe tour to rally support


Lebanon foreign minister starts Europe tour to rally support

Cars pass next to a poster depicting Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned as Lebanon's prime minister, in Beirut, Lebanon, Lebanon, November 13, 2017.

Lebanon's Christian Maronite patriarch arrived in Riyadh Monday on a historic visit amid tensions between the two countries after the shock resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri. France, Germany and the European Union yesterday called for an end to external interference in Lebanon, after the country's prime minister resigned unexpectedly, triggering rumours he was being held against his will in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon has insisted the resignation was forced by Hariri's Saudi patrons and that he is being kept in the kingdom against his will. Hariri said in a Sunday TV interview that he'll return to Lebanon within days.

Hariri explained that his resignation was not officially accepted in Lebanon because it was announced from Riyadh.

"We expect no external interference in this national agenda and we believe it is essential to avoid importing into Lebanon regional conflicts, regional dynamics, regional tensions that have to stay out of the country", Mogherini said, adding that she would meet Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Brussels on Tuesday.

In his announcement last week, Hariri accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of taking over his country and destabilising the broader region, saying he feared for his life.

"We are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon. we are worried about its stability, we are worried about its integrity, we are worried about non-interference", Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

Hariri's resignation plunged Lebanon into a new political crisis and thrust it into the front line of a regional power play between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran that has also buffeted Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

"I have resigned. I am going to Lebanon very soon and I will resign in the constitutional manner", he said.