Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Hariri Might Stay in Paris for Weeks

Hariri Might Stay in Paris for Weeks

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 - 06:00
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (left) meets with outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the latter's residence in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on November 16. AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday from the Swedish city of Gothenburg that he would welcome Saad Hariri in Paris on Saturday as Lebanon’s resigned prime minister and expected him to return to Beirut in the “coming days, weeks.”

The scheduled meeting between Macron and Hariri in Paris and a lunch banquet to be attended by the outgoing PM’s family come on the eve of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers aimed at discussing the Iranian file and study the needed measures against Tehran’s behavior in the region.

On the eve of the Elysee meeting, Hariri asserted that he has been in Saudi Arabia for discussions "on the future of the situation in Lebanon and its relations with the surrounding Arab region.”

Writing on Twitter, Hariri also said information which has been circulating about his stay, his departure and his family are "just rumors".

In this regard, member of the Future Movement parliamentary bloc MP Oqab Saqr said on Friday that after his meeting with Macron, Hariri would kick off “a small Arab tour” before his return to Beirut.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that “Hezbollah” had taken Lebanon hostage, reiterating that the Kingdom has supported Hariri.

During talks with his Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis, Jubeir said Lebanon will not enjoy peace and security unless Hezbollah renounces its weapons.

In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his Lebanese counterpart Jebran Bassil. Discussions focused on the current crisis in Lebanon and the situation in the region.

Lavrov told Bassil that Russia is interested in ensuring that Lebanon is safe, and its state institutions are functioning effectively.

Sources said that Bassil went to Russia to seek diplomatic support in dealing with the crisis of Hariri’s resignation, which came in light of Iran’s intervention in Lebanon’s affairs.

However, the Lebanese foreign minister later denied the reports and told Ria Novosti: “No, we have not asked this from the Russia side.”

Editor Picks