Saudi minister says he has 'confirmed information' on plot to kill Hariri

In a move that caught many by surprise, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

There is "no danger to the economy or pound", Khalil said. The report said due to the "serious" security threats against him, Hariri would not likely return to Lebanon.

Hariri allies in Lebanon have denied suggestions that he had been detained.

"The evil that Iran spreads in the region will backfire on it", he said Saturday.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is set to address Hariri's resignation in a speech on Sunday, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV reported.

Reuters also reported that the resignation follows Hariri's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-profile officials.

Saad Hariri was appointed prime minister in late 2016, heading a 30-member national unity cabinet that included Hezbollah after a years-long spell without a government in the country.

"It is clear that the resignation was a Saudi decision that was imposed on Prime Minister Hariri".

Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional arch foes. The nation was without a cohesive government and leadership for almost two years.

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh sought to calm fears the political turmoil would hit Lebanon's already fragile economy, issuing a statement to reaffirm the stability of its currency, which is pegged against the US dollar.

Under the power-sharing system that helped end Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, the president must be a Christian, the premier a Sunni and the speaker of parliament a Shiite.

Along with Iran and Syria, the Lebanese terror group was responsible for the 2005 assassination of Hariri's father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri, which the younger Hariri cited in his resignation speech.

A United Nations -backed tribunal has indicted five Hezbollah members for the killing but the group denies any involvement.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was concerned by Hariri's resignation and hoped all sides in the country would back its state institutions, his spokesman on Lebanon Stephane Dujarric said in an emailed statement.

  • Jacqueline Ellis