Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met the French foreign minister in Riyadh Thursday, the most senior Western official he has met publicly since his shock resignation announcement earlier this month.
The meeting came after Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that Hariri had accepted an invitation to visit France for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
Asked when his visit would take place, Hariri replied: “I would rather not answer that right now.”
Le Drian’s visit to Saudi Arabia has been dominated by the political crisis in Lebanon sparked by Hariri’s resignation.
The premier has not returned to Lebanon since he announced he was standing down on November 4, and Aoun has yet to accept the resignation, saying he was waiting for the premier to come home.
On Wednesday, Aoun suggested Hariri was being detained in Saudi Arabia.
But on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Hariri was “free to leave”, describing suggestions to the contrary as “false allegations”.