BEIRUT — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday that there will be no stability in Lebanon unless the terror group Hezbollah disarms.
“This is what we hope,” Adel al-Jubeir said at a press conference in Madrid with his Spanish counterpart.
It was the second day in a row that the Saudi minister railed against Hezbollah. On Thursday, he called the group a “first-class terrorist organization” that should lay down its arms and respect Lebanon’s sovereignty.
The escalated rhetoric comes amid a political crisis sparked by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s surprise resignation, citing Iran and Hezbollah’s meddling in the region as the reason he was stepping down. The Nov. 4 resignation broadcast from the Saudi capital is widely believed to have been engineered by the Gulf kingdom.
The resignation of Saudi-aligned Hariri has thrown the country into turmoil and raised concerns that it could drag Lebanon into a battle for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Top Lebanese officials have accused Saudi Arabia of forcing Hariri’s resignation and holding him in the kingdom against his will.
France, Lebanon’s former colonial ruler, has been trying to mediate the crisis and French president Emanuel Macron has issued an invitation to Hariri and his family after his foreign minister met with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the crisis.
Hariri’s Future TV in Lebanon said Hariri will leave Saudi Arabia on Friday, and hold a meeting with Macron on Saturday at midday.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Friday against foreign interference in Lebanese affairs following Hariri’s resignation.
At a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart, Gibran Bassil, Lavrov said that “Russia invariably stands for supporting the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon.”
He added that the crisis should be settled internally in Lebanon, without foreign interference, and through dialogue.