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Lebanon's top cardinal calls for Hariri return ahead of Saudi visit

Lebanon's top cardinal calls for Hariri return ahead of Saudi visit

Lebanon's Christian Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai met on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia with Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister from Riyadh on November 4, according to Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV.

Writing on Twitter, Hariri urged Lebanese to remain calm, adding that his family would "stay in its country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", he said.

In an hour-long live interview with Lebanon's Future TV that was broadcast from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Hariri appeared despondent and at times seemed to be holding back tears, fueling speculation that his sudden resignation earlier this month was made under pressure from Saudi Arabia.

Catholic leaders in Lebanon have urged the worldwide community to bring peace to the Middle East, amid the "state of deadlock" the country is in following the resignation of its prime minister.

"The Lebanese people have been waiting for him [Hariri] to return because the situation has come to a stop and the Lebanese people have been unsettled", Rai said.

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Amid "the state of deadlock" in Lebanon following the resignation of its prime minister, the prelates said they were concerned that he had not yet returned to Lebanon, stressing that this was "necessary for the sake of dignity, sovereignty and stability".

"We will carry these concerns to the king and crown prince and wish well", he said.

Hariri's resignation came amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"Hariri's remarks on Sunday gave small hope of the possibility of his return to Lebanon".

A political crisis has gripped Lebanon since Hariri read his televised resignation from Saudi Arabia in which he accused Iran of meddling in his country in a vicious tirade that was uncharacteristic of the usually soft-spoken 47-year old premier.