Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri Arrives in Paris
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France with his family on Saturday.
The Lebanese prime minister and his family were invited to France by President Emmanuel Macron.
French officials say they can’t say how long Hariri will stay. On Saturday, Macron and Hariri will meet at noon for talks, following which the Lebanese leader and his family will have lunch at the Elysee Palace, Bloomberg reported.
Hariri, 47, hasn’t returned to Lebanon since his shock resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4, which sparked fears of an escalating regional conflict. The Saudi regime has denied accusations it was holding Hariri against his will.
Macron, who met with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, said last week that the two agreed that Hariri “be invited for several days to France.” He also reiterated France’s pledge to help protect Lebanon’s “independence and autonomy.”
Hariri will be welcomed in France “as a friend,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said a press conference in Riyadh on Thursday after meeting with Saudi authorities.
French officials have said they still regard Hariri as Lebanon’s prime minister since the country’s president, Michel Aoun, rejected his resignation on the grounds that it must be handed over on Lebanese soil.
Aoun called Hariri a Saudi “hostage” on Wednesday, and said the developments are “an act of aggression against us and our independence.”
“I recognize all the regional crises that exist, and involve all the powers in the region,” Macron said on Friday. “It’s in everyone’s interest to keep calm, and find an equilibrium.”