BEIRUT: Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to appear soon in the first televised interview from Saudi Arabia since announcing his resignation on November 4, Paula Yacoubian, a political talk show host at Hariri's Future TV channel, told Annahar.
“I was headed to Abu Dhabi on personal business when PM Hariri contacted me,” Yacoubian said, adding that she will interview Hariri through the Future TV network, which was founded by Hariri's father, late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Yacoubian confirmed that the interview, which will also be picked up by other networks as well, will be broadcast at 8h30 pm local time (UTC +2:00).
Lebanon plunged into a political crisis when Hariri declared from Saudi Arabia his resignation due to his perceived rise of Iranian influence in Lebanon and the region while accusing Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group, of taking the country hostage.
Hezbollah, on the other hand, has accused Saudi Arabia of forcing Hariri to resign and holding him in Riyadh against his will. Hariri has not returned to Lebanon or made contact with Lebanese officials since his resignation, raising concerns over his freedom of movement.
Challenging speculation that Yacoubian’s production team was denied entry to Saudi Arabia, Future TV political news director, Nadim Koteich, said “it is easier logistically for Saudi Arabia to provide everything needed to conduct the interview.”
On Friday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun told Saudi Charge d’Affaires Walid al-Bukhari that the manner in which Hariri resigned “was unacceptable".
In a statement released Sunday, Aoun said that whatever statements Hariri makes, should not be taken at face value, as "the circumstances surrounding his resignation remain shrouded in mystery."
Aoun had previously stressed that he wouldn't proceed with the consultations to nominate a new prime minister before Hariri submits his official resignation after returning to Lebanon.
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