Lebanese PM invited to France amid resignation crisis
17 November, 2017, 00:32 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an invitation to come to France after his surprise resignation from Saudi Arabia almost two weeks ago that stunned Lebanon and rattled the region, the French president's office announced on Thursday.
Hariri has been in the Saudi capital since announcing there on November 4 that he was stepping down.
A poster of resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri hangs on a street in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 13, 2017.
Aoun, who has refused to accept Hariri's resignation unless he returns to Lebanon, has accused Riyadh of holding Hariri hostage.
Macron told reporters that he offered Hariri the opportunity to visit France during a meeting between himself, the Lebanese Prime Minister, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
El-Rai told reporters at Beirut's global airport that Hariri's return would restore normalcy in Lebanon.
Le Drian later met with Hariri. We are reacting to that aggression and saying, 'Enough is enough.
Aoun is an ally of Hezbollah but had been close to Hariri before the crisis.
Hariri, who has always been close to Saudi authorities, insisted in an interview with his party's television channel over the weekend that he had freedom of movement and would return to Lebanon in the coming days.
Aoun has previously said he will not accept Hariri's resignation until he returns to Beirut to tender it and explain his reasons.
Hezbollah accused the kingdom of seeking to sow chaos in Lebanon. A White House statement on Saturday described Hariri as "a trusted partner of the United States in strengthening Lebanese institutions, fighting terrorism, and protecting refugees".
France's foreign minister, Le Drian, said Paris was working to normalise the situation in Lebanon. He announced his unexpected resignation in a pre-recorded statement broadcast on Saudi TV, in which he lashed out at Hezbollah and said he feared for his safety.
"We are anxious about its stability, we are anxious about its integrity", Le Drian said.
Hariri's interview on Sunday night, carried by Future TV, a channel associated with his political party, raised some new questions.
He also repeatedly said he was ready to die for Lebanon - his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed by a vehicle bomb in Beirut in 2005 - but added that he didn't want his children to go through that kind of ordeal. "He leaves when he wants to", he said.
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