Macron invites lebanon’s prime minister hariri to france

Macron invites lebanon's prime minister hariri to france

In the lebanon crisis, france’s president emmanuel macron invited lebanese head of government saad hariri and his family to france.

Macron had previously spoken with saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman and hariri, the elysee palace said in a terse statement. Hariri could come to france as early as in the coming days, elysee circles confirmed to the german press agency. Earlier, the AFP news agency had reported that.

Hariri had announced his resignation from saudi arabia earlier this month – with which country he maintains close ties. He hinted at a murder plot by the lebanese shiite militia hezbollah, which is supported by iran and syria. With that, the 47-year-old unleashed speculation that his withdrawal was forced by riyadh to create tension with hezbollah.

Lebanon’s president michel aoun claimed hariri was being held in saudi arabia. "Premier hariri’s non-return to his homeland twelve days (after his resignation) cannot be justified by anything, therefore we consider him detained and in custody," aoun shared via twitter. Lebanon will do its best to ensure that hariri is released again. He did not provide evidence for his claim.

Before inviting hariri, macron insisted that the lebanese prime minister confirm his announced resignation in his home country. France supports the independence and autonomy of the middle east country, french government spokesman christophe castaner said after the government meeting. Castaner said, "the (french) president of the state wishes the lebanese prime minister to reaffirm (and) confirm his wish to resign from lebanon, if that is his decision."

Meanwhile, auben minister jean-yves le drian began a two-day visit to saudi arabia, where, according to french diplomatic circles, a meeting with hariri was also planned. Moreover, le drian wanted to meet crown prince mohammed. Macron had already seen prince mohammed the previous week. France, as a former mandate power, has particularly close ties with lebanon.