Lebanon's President Michel Aoun on Wednesday criticized Saudi Arabia on the background of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation, saying that Riyadh has carried out an "act of aggression" against Lebanon.
"We consider Prime Minister Saad Hariri as being detained in Saudi Arabia and this is an act of aggression against Lebanon," Aoun said during a meeting with the National Audio&Visual Council.
Aoun said that nothing justified Hariri's continued stay in Saudi Arabia, now into day 12. "This contradicts the Vienna Treaty and human rights," said Aoun, according to the president's Twitter account. He stressed "we cannot keep waiting and lose time, because state affairs cannot be put on hold."
Reiterating his previous comments regarding Hariri's resignation, Aoun said that it wasn't possible to complete the resignation formality as Hariri had announced it from abroad. Aoun added "he needs to return to Lebanon to submit his resignation or withdraw it, or discuss the reasons for it and the solutions."
The controversy was raised following Hariri's sudden resignation on Nov. 4 through a statement he read on al-Arabia TV from the Saudi capital Riyadh. Later Wednesday, Hariri tweeted again saying that he was "fine and will return to Lebanon soon, as promised."
Aoun also hit out at Saudi Arabia, saying they were holding Hariri's family. "We have not previously asked for their return, but we have confirmed they are also detained and family members are being searched as they enter and leave the house" Aoun said in a statement reported by local media outlets.