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Wed 8 Nov 2017 08:36 AM

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Lebanon's resigned PM visits Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince assured him of his country's support for Lebanon

Lebanon's resigned PM visits Abu Dhabi
Days after announcing his shock resignation in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon's former prime minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday visited Abu Dhabi, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Days after announcing his shock resignation in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon's former prime minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday visited Abu Dhabi, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Hariri announced his resignation Saturday in a televised speech from Riyadh.

He said he feared for his life and accused Saudi Arabia's arch-rival Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of taking over his country and destabilising the broader region.

Hariri's announcement from Riyadh, which coincided with a Saudi purge of princes, ministers and a billionaire business tycoon, sparked speculation in Lebanon that he quit under duress and was subject to Saudi movement restrictions.

Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar even suggested he was being held "hostage" in Saudi Arabia.

But on Tuesday the official WAM news agency reported Hariri had met Sheikh Mohammed.

The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince assured him of his country's "support" for Lebanon "in the face of regional challenges and interferences in its affairs".

Hariri's departure sparked concerns of a political crisis in Lebanon as Saudi Arabia and Iran face off over a missile attack from Yemen.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Lebanon would foil the "conspiracy" against it.

"Without a doubt, the great Lebanese people will succeed in foiling the new plot and will not allow Lebanon to become the battleground for other powers or let terrorists return," he was quoted as saying in a presidency statement.

Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday Hariri's resignation had been "imposed" by Saudi Arabia.

"It was not his intention, not his wish and not his decision" to quit, Nasrallah said in a televised address.

"We did not seek this resignation," said Nasrallah, whose powerful movement has participated in Hariri's government for almost a year.

The Hezbollah leader also questioned why Hariri gave his resignation speech from Saudi Arabia.

"Is he at home? Will they let him return? These are legitimate concerns," he said.