RIYADH (AFP) – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an invitation to travel to Paris after Beirut accused Riyadh of detaining him following his shock resignation, the French foreign minister said Thursday.
“He will come to France and the prince has been informed,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with whom he held talks late on Wednesday.
Asked about the date of the visit for talks with President Emmanuel Macron, Le Drian replied: “Mr. Hariri’s schedule is a matter for Mr. Hariri.”
Speculation has swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a dual Saudi citizen.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has accused Saudi Arabia of “detaining” him and has refused to accept his resignation from abroad.
In his first media appearance since he announced his resignation on November 4, Hariri said on Sunday that he had freedom of movement and would return to Lebanon in the coming days.
Hariri has left open the possibility that he may withdraw his resignation if certain conditions are met — in particular and end to the involvement of Lebanon’s powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah in regional conflicts.
The French president’s office said on Wednesday that Hariri and his family had been invited to France for a “few days” but that did not mean he would stay there in exile.
Macron has stressed that Hariri should be able to return to Lebanon to confirm or withdraw his resignation in person.