Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who on Saturday announced his resignation during a visit to Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday travelled to Abu Dhabi for a meeting with Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, before returning to Riyadh, according to Hariri's office and Saudi-owned media.
The timing of Hariri's sudden and unexpected resignation, which came amid a wave of arrests targeting high-profile Saudi political and business figures seen by some as a move by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to consolidate his power, has raised concerns about Riyadh's influence in Lebanon amid escalating regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The uncertainty surrounding Hariri's announcement has left many in Lebanon who spoke with MEE this week concerned that the country will be caught up in fresh regional tensions.
“We have lived through the civil war and had to move to Africa - Sierra Leone," said Fadi Leba’ine, a 59-year-old food preserves salesman in Beirut.
"Now my son, who is 35, has to live through the same struggle I had to face when I was young. I imagine the children of my nephews will also have to live through the same things all over again."
A photo published by the UAE's state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) on Tuesday showed Hariri meeting Bin Zayed, a key ally of Mohammad bin Salman, in what appeared to be the same suit and tie that he wore in photographs of his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Monday and to deliver his resignation speech on Saturday which was broadcast live by Saudi Arabia's al-Arabiya television channel.
Hariri thanked the Emirati leadership for their support for Lebanon and the two men discussed the challenges that Lebanon faced and the "regional interventions" that were obstacles to the prosperity and peace of the country, WAM reported.