Saudi Arabia issues protest note over German foreign minister’s comments

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

:: Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Germany on Saturday for consultation over the German foreign minister’s comments.

The kingdom also issued a protest note over the German diplomat’s comments, the Saudi foreign ministry said, adding that the kingdom resents such “random comments which are based on false information that does not support stability in the region.”

The ministry also said that the comments do not reflect the stand based on the mutual partnership between the two countries in the war against terrorism and extremism to secure stability in the region.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said early Saturday that he was heading to the airport in Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to leave for France, two weeks after declaring his resignation from the kingdom and sparking speculation that he was forced to do so.

In a series of tweets, Hariri dismissed as “rumors” and a “lie” reports he was detained or prevented from leaving the kingdom.

In a rare English tweet, Hariri named German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel when announcing that he was heading to the airport in Saudi Arabia.

He apparently singled out the top German diplomat because he had criticized meddling in Lebanon’s affairs.

“To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie,” Hariri said. “I am on the way to the airport Mr. Sigmar Gabriel.”

Before heading to the airport, Hariri met with the Saudi Crown Prince and other senior officials, according to a member of Hariri’s political party and two Lebanese television stations. Local TV stations also reported that he was leaving Saudi Arabia.

He is expected to arrive in Paris midday Saturday.

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