Lebanese cardinal arrives in Saudi Arabia to meet Hariri

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He underscored that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation is an internal issue of Lebanon, and expressed the hope that Hariri would return to his country, security and stability would be restored in the Arab state and problems would be resolved as soon as possible.

In an exclusive interview from Riyadh with his party's Future TV, Hariri brushed aside rumors that he was under de facto house arrest in Saudi Arabia and hinted he could rescind his resignation if Hezbollah stopped getting involved in other conflicts outside of Lebanon.

The Lebanese prime minister announced his resignation following visits to Saudi Arabia.

Cardinal Bechara el-Rai's visit, the first ever by a Maronite patriarch to the kingdom according to the cardinal, has taken on special significance since Hariri announced his resignation in a surprise statement broadcast from Riyadh on November 4.

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His cabinet allies say he is being held captive, but Mr Hariri denied this.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric against Hezbollah and Iran, accusing both of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen.

Hariri acknowledged in the interview that his resignation was unconventional, adding that he was ready to return to Lebanon to formally submit it and seek a settlement with Hezbollah.

"We appeal first of all to the political forces to focus on Lebanon and what they can deliver to their citizens, Prime Minister Hariri to return to his country and the unity government.to focus on domestic achievements", the bloc's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, told reporters.

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About two minutes before the end of the interview, which lasted an hour and-a-half, she returned after a break and pointed to where the man was standing and stated that the man is "one of his staff". Once he returns, Aoun tweeted, "we will listen to him about all circumstances, topics and concerns that need addressing".

He also repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon - his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Beirut in 2005 - but added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal. We want him to first come to Lebanon. "If I want to travel tomorrow, I will", he said.

The announcement comes after Yemeni transport minister Murad Al Halimi said on Friday that airports in the government-held cities of Aden and Seiyun, in Hadramawt province, would be reopening.

Ibrahim al-Masri, a 37-year-old Hariri supporter, said the Lebanese didn't know if it was Hariri's choice to stay in Saudi Arabia.

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