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Hariri Says Will Be in Beirut Within Days
International

Hariri Says Will Be in Beirut Within Days

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said 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 crisis in Lebanon.
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, AP reported.
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.
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.
After his meeting with Macron, 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,” Hariri said after thanking Macron, who he added “expressed pure friendship toward me that I will never forget.”
The independence day ceremony is usually headed by the president, prime minister and parliament speaker, and Hariri’s presence could help calm uncertainties that have escalated since his strange and surprising resignation announcement on Nov. 4 from Saudi Arabia.
However, Hariri’s political status is murky. Lebanon’s president refused to accept Hariri’s resignation, accusing the Saudis of holding him against his will.
US President Donald Trump on Saturday spoke with Macron about the situation in Lebanon and Syria, and both leaders agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah and Iran’s “destabilizing activities in the region,” the White House said.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday asked its citizens for the second time in less than two weeks to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible” given the “circumstances” there. That raised fears of more punitive actions to come.

 

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