Visiting Lebanese patriarch meets Saad al-Hariri in Saudi Arabia

Visiting Lebanese patriarch meets Saad al-Hariri in Saudi Arabia

The meeting comes after Lebanon's Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai met on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia with Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister from Riyadh on November 4, according to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV. 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.

The political crisis in Lebanon shouldn't delay the country's first oil and gas offshore licensing round, its energy minister said on Tuesday.

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

He said he had "talked about the unacceptable Iranian interference in Arab countries" with Velayati in Beirut.

France's foreign minister, speaking on the sidelines of the ministerial gathering in Brussels, also called on other countries not to interfere in Lebanon.

He is set to visit Riyadh on Thursday.

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Earlier this week, Hariri denied allegations that he was being held by Saudi Arabia, saying that he would return soon to Beirut.

Paris sees "a certain easing" in the situation, the Elysee Palace said in a statement, while adding that it remains to be seen "what is really going to happen in the coming days".

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said there was a danger of Lebanon falling back into "political and sometimes military confrontations".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hariri's resignation should serve as "a wake-up call to the worldwide community to take action against the Iranian aggression that is trying to turn Syria into a second Lebanon".

Amid "the state of deadlock" in Lebanon following the resignation of its prime minister, the prelates said they were concerned that he had not yet returned to Lebanon, stressing that this was "necessary for the sake of dignity, sovereignty and stability".

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