Lebanon’s Hariri Will Travel to France
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an offer to travel to France in the coming days, the latest move in a nearly two-week saga surrounding his announced resignation earlier this month.
Hariri has been in Saudi Arabia since the announcement, prompting questions about whether he was being held there and leading Lebanese President Michel Aoun to declare Hariri was being detained.
Aoun has said he will not formally accept Hariri’s resignation until he returns to Lebanon.
The president said Thursday he hopes that with Hariri accepting France’s invitation the crisis will be “over.” Aoun added that he will decide the next steps for the Lebanese government once Hariri is back in Lebanon.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Thursday rejected as “baseless” allegations that Saudi Arabia was detaining Hariri and said it is up to him to decide when to leave.
Saudi Arabia supported Hariri and his allies during years of political conflict in Lebanon with Iran-backed Hezbollah.
In his resignation speech televised from Saudi Arabia, Hariri denounced Iran and Hezbollah for sowing friction in Arab states and said he feared assassination. His father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was killed in a 2005 bombing.