Iran Never Interferes in Lebanon's Internal Affairs: Spokesman

Ajustar Comentario Impresión

The transport minister of Yemen's internationally recognised government, Murad al-Halimi, said two airports in Aden and the loyalist-held southern city of Seiyun would reopen from Sunday.

He said his resignation was designed to "cause a positive shock" in the country, warning against Iranian interference that is, he said, ruining relations with other Arab countries.

Hariri, who has not returned to Lebanon since he declared his shock resignation, said he stepped down for the sake of the Lebanese national interest, repeatedly saying the country must stick by a policy of "disassociation" from regional conflict.

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 Nov. 4.

In an interview with a television station that he owns, the Saudi-allied Hariri, Lebanon's most influential Sunni Muslim politician, gave his first public comments since he read out his resignation on television from Riyadh eight days ago.

He has blamed the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement for his resignation, citing concerns over his and his family's safety.

The man at the background triggered widespread speculation, amid various uncertainties in the minds of millions, asking about who he could possibly be and what message was on the rolled white paper he was holding.

It has also stoked fears of an escalation in the regional divide between Iran and the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, with Lebanon on the front lines. It has accused Lebanon of declaring war on it because of Hezbollah, and has advised Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. "If I want to travel tomorrow, I will", Hariri told journalist Paula Yaacoubian.

Meanwhile, the Arabic-language al-Joumhouria (The Republic) daily newspaper quoted Aoun as saying on Saturday that Beirut would refer Hariri's case to the UN Security Council within a week if his destiny remains unclear. "Why put ourselves in the middle?"

"President Aoun expressed his pleasure at Hariri's announcement of his return to Lebanon soon", a source said.

On Friday, the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian aid, OCHA, said the coalition was still blocking desperately needed UN aid deliveries to Yemen, despite the reopening of Aden and Wadea. Although he met with various ambassadors in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in the days that followed, no one in Lebanon was really sure what was happening to him.

The EU's commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said that more steps were needed.

The resignation also comes less than a month after he announced plans to join a coalition government with Hezbollah.

"There can be no alternative for all these ports being fully functional and receiving commercial and humanitarian cargo", Geekie said.