Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri

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This year, President Michel Aoun encouraged runners to call on Hariri to return.

Since Mr Hariri's surprise resignation last Saturday in a statement broadcast from a Saudi state-owned TV station in Riyadh he has not returned home, leaving the Lebanese asking: Where is our prime minister?

On November 12, Hariri broke his silence on his resignation, saying he is "completely free" and not being held under some form of duress by his Saudi patrons. Saudi Arabia has ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon post haste and has advised its people not to travel to the country from any other worldwide destinations.

In the previous days, Many reports talked about the circumstances which surrounded Hariri's resignation, with Reuters news agency quoted an official close to Hariri as saying that the Lebanese PM was forced to resign and has been under house arrest since his arrival to Riyadh on November 3.

Tillerson's statement also urged "all parties both within Lebanon and outside" to respect Lebanon's independence and said there was no role for any foreign forces. Hezbollah and the Houthis deny that the Lebanese group is carrying out anti-Saudi activities in Yemen.

Hariri's office said he met several diplomats in Riyadh on Monday including the British and German ambassadors.

The United States, France and Britain have all expressed strong support for Lebanon's stability and sovereignty.

Tillerson told reporters the purge appeared "well intended" but the mass arrests, which have swept up officials long known in Washington, also fueled US concerns.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "we are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon". "I have a family, and it is my right to protect them", Hariri said of his presence in Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with Lebanon's Future Television, the mouthpiece of his political party, Hariri denied the claims and promised to return to Lebanon "very soon".

Rafik al-Hariri, originally a businessman, was the prime minister of Lebanon between 1992 and 1998, and again from 2000 till his resignation in 2004.

Tillerson was also "signaling to the Israelis. that now is not the time to go after Lebanon", said Salem, referring to long-standing Israeli concerns about Hezbollah's growing military prowess.

Asked why Hariri was wearing the same suit for three days, he said: "I said I'm not responsible for his closet". "He is always welcome there and he will continue to be welcome there".