BEIRUT — In a new twist in the saga of Lebanon’s prime minister who resigned over the weekend from Saudi Arabia, Saad Hariri’s office said he visited the United Arab Emirates briefly on Tuesday for a meeting with a top official before returning to the kingdom.
Much is unknown about Hariri’s unexpected resignation, which stunned the Lebanese, threw its government into disarray, and prompted a frenzy of speculation.
One of the rumors is that Hariri has been under house arrest in Saudi Arabia, or in some way forced to do the Saudis’ bidding. His brief visit to the UAE could appear to dispel that, except that the Gulf federation is a close Saudi ally — the two countries have been spearheading a war in Yemen since 2015 against the country’s Shiite Iran-backed rebels.
Abu Dhabi’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan met Hariri and tweeted a photo, saying they discussed ‘‘brotherly ties’’ and the situation in Lebanon, without elaborating. Hariri’s office also said the two discussed the situation in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday sent its harshest threat to the Lebanese government, dominated by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, accusing it of declaring war against the kingdom through support that Hezbollah allegedly provides to Yemen’s rebels. Both Hezbollah and the Houthis, as Yemen’s Shiite rebels are known, have denied any role by the Lebanese group in the war in the Arabian Peninsula country.
In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun held consultations Tuesday with leading politicians over the crisis. Aoun has not called for consultations with parliamentary blocs on forming a new Cabinet, saying he will wait until Hariri returns home so that he can hear from him about why he resigned.