Lebanon's Hariri to fly to France in coming days, Elysee Palace says

Laura Christensen
November 17, 2017

Aoun said he considered Hariri to have been detained in Saudi Arabia, and suffering from limited mobility in the place where he is being held.

An official in the French president's office, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be named publicly, said Hariri is expected to travel to France in the coming days with his family.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "we are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon".

A poster of resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri hangs on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 13, 2017. Hariri's father, Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a auto bomb explosion in 2005, which officials believe was planted by Hezbollah agents, and Hariri said he feared the same fate. Riyadh is expected to discuss Iran's rising influence in the region, as well as the Lebanon crisis. We are reacting to that aggression and saying, 'Enough is enough.

Asked about the date of the visit for talks, Le Drian replied: "Mr. Hariri's schedule is a matter for Mr. Hariri".

Future Movement Politburo member, former MP Mustafa Alloush, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun's words "cut the way to a solution and closed the door opened by Saad Hariri in his last interview".

Mr. Jubeir said domestic anti-corruption investigations which have netted senior princes, officials and businessmen in the past two weeks were ongoing.

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Many fear punitive Saudi actions against Lebanon over Hezbollah.

Hariri's resignation came against the backdrop of mounting tensions between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, which back opposing sides in power struggles in hotspots such as Syria and Yemen.

Cardinal Bechara el-Rai's visit, the first ever by a Maronite patriarch to the kingdom according to the cardinal, has taken on special significance since Hariri announced his resignation in a surprise statement broadcast from Riyadh on November 4.

Hariri's shock resignation after less than a year as premier mystified Lebanon and led to speculation by some media outlets and politicians that he was forced into it by the Gulf kingdom.

Al-Jubeir railed against Hezbollah, calling it a "first-class terrorist organization" that should lay down its arms and respect Lebanon's sovereignty.

On Wednesday, Macron invited Hariri and his family to come to France, apparently as a way to put an end to allegations that the prime minister is being held against his will.

Other reports by My Hot News

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