French Foreign Minister said Thursday that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri “has accepted an invitation” to travel to Paris, a day after President Michel Aoun frankly said that Saudi Arabia is holding the Lebanese premier hostage.
“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.”
Earlier on Wednesday, President Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of detaining Hariri and has refused to accept his resignation from abroad.
Also on Wednesday, 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.
On November 4, Hariri resigned in a surprise announcement from Riyadh. International, Arab and local media then reported that Hariri was forced by Saudi Arabia to do so, in a move aimed at toppling the Lebanese government. Media also reported that Hariri has been under house arrest in Riyadh.
On Sunday (November 12), Hariri appeared in an interview. As the move was aimed at denying reports’ that Hariri has been held, it raised more questions about his situation in Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese premier appeared to be exhausted and concerned during the interview.
Shortly before the interview, President Michel Aoun, has so far refused so far to accept Harrir’s resignation, stressing that the ambiguity of his situation makes all what he states unreliable.