Lebanon’s Prime Minister to Arrive in Beirut Within Days After Saudi ‘Hostage’ Rumors
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Saturday he will return home in the coming days after a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia.
PARIS (AP) — Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Saturday he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making a strange resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a political crisis in Lebanon.
Mr. Hariri and his family met Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited the Lebanese leader to Paris to dispel fears that he was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will. Mr. Macron is seeking to calm tensions and avert a proxy conflict between Saudi-backed and Iranian-backed camps in Lebanon.
Mr. Hariri’s appearance in Paris — looking relaxed and posing with his wife and older son on the steps of the Elysee Palace with the French presidential couple in front of a large crowd of journalists — contrasted with his limited-access, carefully choreographed appearances from Saudi Arabia.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 18, 2017
Mr. Hariri told Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Saturday that he will take part in Independence Day celebrations in Beirut on Wednesday, according to Macron’s office. A French presidential official said Mr. Macron spoke Saturday with Mr. Aoun, who thanked France for its efforts to help Lebanon.
After his meeting with Mr. Macron, Mr. Hariri told reporters: “God willing, I will attend Independence Day in Lebanon and will declare my political stance from Lebanon and after meeting President Michel Aoun.”
“As you know I have resigned and we will talk about this matter in Lebanon,” Mr. Hariri said after thanking Mr. Macron, who he added “expressed pure friendship toward me that I will never forget.”