Yemeni rebels warn Saudi Arabia over blockade — The Latest

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh

Lebanon's Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil on Friday called on companies bidding in its first round of licensing to explore for oil and gas in its Mediterranean waters to begin technical discussions, suggesting the process would continue despite the political crisis.

"Hariri's remarks on Sunday gave small hope of the possibility of his return to Lebanon.Iran does not interfere in Lebanon's affairs", Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state TV.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies faced widespread international criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of people closer to "starvation and death".

The Saudis had not estimated the kind of shock and backlash that Hariri's resignation would create, said Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

The resignation of the Saudi-allied Hariri's and its aftermath have put Lebanon back to the forefront of the conflict between Shi'ite-led Iran and its regional Sunni rival Saudi Arabia.

Lebanese officials have said Hariri is likely to be under either house arrest or in temporary detention in Riyadh.

For its part, Iran long has denied offering any arms to Yemen, though it has backed the Houthis and highlighted the high civilian casualties from the Saudi-led coalition's campaign of airstrikes.

Hariri, a dual Lebanese and Saudi national whose family made a fortune in the kingdom, has made several official appearances since he stepped down, possibly in an attempt to dispel rumors his movements are restricted.

Hariri was propelled into politics by the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, in 2005. Final approval will then be sought from Lebanon's council of ministers.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who has resigned, is seen during Future television interview, in a coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon November 12, 2017.

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