In an exclusive interview with French-language weekly news magazine Paris Match, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri spoke about his resignation, Iran, Hezbollah and rumors he was detained in Saudi Arabia.
Regarding the claims stated by Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Saad Hariri said: “Many stories have been told but if I had been detained, I would not be here in Beirut today. Before that, I was able to go to Paris, Egypt, Cyprus. I was free.”
When asked about his resignation and the role he would wish to take on, Hariri said: “I wanted the world to understand that Lebanon can no longer tolerate the interferences of a party like Hezbollah in the affairs of the Gulf countries, where 300,000 Lebanese live. We must not pay for the actions of Hezbollah.”
Hariri added: “In Lebanon, Hezbollah has a political role. Lebanon's interest is to ensure that its weapons are not used elsewhere. I will not accept that a Lebanese political party participates in maneuvers that serve the interests of Iran.”
He commented on threats he received: “I have many enemies, extremists and the Syrian regime. The latter pronounced a death sentence against me. They accuse me of interference in their country. Frankly, do you imagine us Lebanese interfering in Syria?”
Saudi crown prince is a modernist and a challenger of corruption
Hariri stated his support of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman adding that he is a modernist and an opponent of corruption, giving women the right to drive, and seeks to implement a policy that is open to the world for his country. “In the past, there were no cinemas, no concerts in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“Saudi crown prince’s opposition to Iranian politics comes from the interference in Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain. There is a problem with Iran. Of course, we, the Lebanese, would like to have the best relations, economic in particular, with Iran, but they must be in the mutual interest of our two countries,” he added.
Regarding Saudi crown prince’s reference to the Iranian supreme leader, as "Hitler of the Middle East", Hariri said that everyone has their way of expressing themselves.
People are sick of war
Hariri commented on France’s role in the crisis: “President Macron spoke with everyone: Americans, Europeans, Iran, Russia. The relations between our two countries are certainly historic, but that's not all. People are sick of war.”