BEIRUT — Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister, who unexpectedly resigned during a trip to Saudi Arabia, met with Saudi King Salman on Monday as speculation continued to swirl over his surprising move.
The official Saudi Press Agency carried photos of the two meeting at a Riyadh palace but there was no indication when Saad Hariri would return to Lebanon. The pictures appeared aimed at dispelling rumors that the prime minister was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will.
The resignation threw Lebanon’s fragile government into disarray. President Michel Aoun, who must accept the resignation for it to be valid, said Saturday that he would await Hariri’s return to consider the matter.
It is not clear when or if Hariri will return. In a sign of the uncertainty the country now faces, powerful Parliament speaker Nabih Berri said after meeting Aoun that it is ‘‘too early’’ to consider Hariri’s resignation.
Hariri stunned the Lebanese with his resignation on Saturday, and the haltingly delivered statement from the kingdom fueled speculations. In the speech, he accused Iran of meddling in Arab affairs and the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, Hariri’s top political rival, speculated on Sunday that Saudi Arabia had forced Hariri to resign amid the deepening Saudi-Iran rivalry.