President Michel Aoun on Sunday reiterated that anything declared by Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh will be a “subject of suspicion,” amid reports of an imminent TV interview featuring the premier.
“Aoun re-emphasized to his visitors today the content of the statement that was issued yesterday by the Presidency's press office about the mysterious and ambiguous circumstances in which Prime Mininster Saad Hariri has been living in Riyadh since last Saturday, which were also mentioned by a number of heads of state who tackled the issue over the past days,” the National News Agency said.
“These circumstances have reached the extent of restricting PM Hariri's freedom and imposing restraints on his residency and on any communication with him from the members of his family,” Aoun told his visitors.
“These circumstances make anything that PM Hariri has issued or will issue, and anything attributed to him, a subject of suspicion and ambiguity,” the president said.
He added that Hariri's stances “cannot be recognized as official or emanating from the premier's free will.”
Future TV announced that it will broadcast the interview with Hariri at 8:30 pm Sunday.
Hariri had announced his resignation on November 4 in a surprising and pre-recorded statement from Saudi Arabia.
In a haltingly delivered address, Hariri accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and Iran-backed Hizbullah of holding Lebanon hostage. He also said he feared for his life.
In his absence, Lebanon has been awash with speculation the prime minister may be held against his will in Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials have denied Hariri is under house arrest.
Aoun has urged Saudi Arabia to explain why Hariri had not returned to Beirut since his surprise resignation, while Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has openly accused the kingdom of "detaining" the premier.
Hizbullah's critics have meanwhile called for addressing the political content of Hariri's resignation announcement and not the unusual manner in which the resignation was declared.