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Lebanese leader breaks silence as mystery surrounds resignation

BEIRUT -- Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who plunged the country into crisis with his surprise resignation during a trip to Saudi Arabia, says he will return home in the next two days. 

In his first tweet in more than a week, Hariri told his followers that he is OK, and that he would be returning without his family, who will stay "in their home" in Saudi Arabia. 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the Nov. 4 resignation, which came under mysterious circumstances, until Hariri returns to the country.

Lebanon has insisted the resignation was forced by Hariri's Saudi patrons and that he is being kept in the kingdom against his will. Hariri denied those reports in a Sunday TV interview and said he'll return to Lebanon within days. 

"Guys.. I'm perfectly fine. Coming back in the next few days, so let's take it easy. My family is staying in their home country .. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .. the kingdom of goodness," Hariri said.     

Some Lebanese officials have said he should return with his family, so he could be free of any Saudi pressure. 

Asked if Hariri is a citizen of Saudi Arabia, a dual national, Saudi's U.N. ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said, "First and foremost, he is the Prime Minister of Lebanon," according to CBS News' Pamela Falk.

Lebanon Marathon
Runners in the 8 km Beirut Marathon run past placards supporting the outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return from Saudi Arabia in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017.  Hassan Ammar / AP

"He has a house in Saudi Arabia. He has friends and supporters and interests and so forth, first and foremost, among them the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, whom Hariri said he looks up to as a father figure, so it's not strange that Saad Hariri is in Saudi Arabia," Al-Mouallimi said. "He is always welcome there and he will continue to be welcome there."

When a reporter asked why Hariri was wearing the same suit for three days, Al-Mouallimi said, "I said I'm not responsible for his closet."     

Hariri's resignation came amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Hariri lashed out at Lebanon's militant Hezbollah movement in his resignation speech and said he feared for his safety. Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that is also a member of Hariri's coalition government, has cast his resignation as a Saudi plot to plunge Lebanon into chaos, and has called on him to return.

Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi national, has homes in Saudi Arabia. His wife and children have been living in Saudi Arabia for years.

Earlier Tuesday, Lebanon's foreign minister flew to Brussels on the first leg of a European tour that aims to rally support for his country's stability following Hariri's resignation.

Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil's first stop on Tuesday was in Brussels, followed by Paris. The visit aims to rally diplomatic support and explain Lebanon's predicament following Hariri's move. 

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