Saudi Arabia has summoned its ambassador in Germany for consultations over comments by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who implied that resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was being held against his will in Riyadh.
"The false statements made by Gabriel during his meeting with his Lebanese counterpart are surprising and offensive to Saudi Arabia," an official source at the Saudi foreign ministry said.
The Saudi foreign ministry said the government also handed Germany’s representative in Riyadh a protest note over what it said were “shameful” comments Gabriel made after a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Jebran Bassil.
“Such remarks provoke the surprise and disapproval of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which considers them as aimless and based on false information that would not help bring about stability in the region,” the official added.
“It is supposed that the statement made by the German foreign minister would not represent the position of the friendly government of Germany, considered by the Kingdom as a reliable partner in the fight against terrorism and extremism and the endeavor to bring about security and stability in the region,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry added in its statement.
Shortly before leaving Riyadh for Paris, Hariri said in a tweet addressed to Gabriel that it was untrue he was being held in Saudi.
“To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie. I am on the way to the airport,” Hariri tweeted.