BEIRUT – The Latest on Prime Minister Saad Hariri's return to Lebanon (all times local):
Prime Minister Saad Hariri has arrived at Lebanon's Independence Day military parade, his first official appearance after his shock resignation nearly three weeks ago from Saudi Arabia.
Hariri arrived Wednesday before the start of the parade amid applause from the attendance. He arrived to the celebrations at a seaside boulevard in Beirut amid tight security.
Hariri arrived late Tuesday in Beirut after nearly a three-week absence that plunged the country into a political crisis. President Michel Aoun said he would not accept Hariri's resignation until he hears from him personally.
Hariri is expected to meet with Aoun and the parliament speaker after the parade.
Hariri's shock resignation from abroad sparked speculations he was forced to do it by his Saudi backers, who are feuding with Iran for influence in the region. Hariri's partners in the government are the Iran-allied Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Lebanon gained independence from France 74 years ago.
Lebanon is celebrating its Independence Day with a military parade attended by the president and the prime minister who resigned from Saudi Arabia earlier this month in a move that stunned the country.
Wednesday's parade comes hours after Prime Minster Saad Hariri returned to Lebanon after a three-week absence that was described by Lebanese officials as forced upon him by his Saudi allies.
In his televised resignation, Hariri said he was protesting meddling in Arab affairs by Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah. Hezbollah is part of the coalition government.
Hariri left Riyadh on Saturday for Paris. He traveled to Cairo before returning to Beirut late Tuesday, where he said he will discuss the reasons for his resignation. It's not clear if he will keep or rescind his resignation.