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Tuesday 7th
posted by James Tweedie in World

LEBANON’S runaway PM Saad Hariri met Saudi King Salman in Riyadh yesterday — as his former intelligence service denied his claim of an assassination plot.

Mr Hariri announced his resignation on television from Saudi capital Riyadh on Saturday, accusing Iran of meddling in Arab affairs — and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of holding the country hostage.

Lebanese General Directorate of State Security denied any knowledge of a plot, telling Al Masdar News yesterday: “The source of this news is unknown.”

That echoed statements from the army and security forces over the weekend.

On Sunday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Mr Hariri’s resignation was “dictated and forced upon” him by Riyadh.

“It was not his intention, not his wish and not his decision to quit,” he said.

“This text is not Lebanese, this text was written by Saudi Arabia and the writing is Saudi; whereas the prime minister only read it.”

He urged the people to remain “calm, until the situation is clear and we know the actual reasons for the resignation.”

Also on Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told Lebanese President Michel Aoun that Egypt “stands by Lebanon and its people, and supports Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unity of its people.”

Egypt is part of the nine-nation Saudi-led coalition that invaded Yemen in 2015. Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah and its ally Iran of aiding Yemeni forces fighting the invaders.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Riyadh yesterday for talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Official Palestinian Authority daily al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that Mr Abbas expressed his solidarity with Saudi Arabia following Saturday’s missile attack from Yemen.