Hariri: I’ll return to Beirut by Wednesday


PARIS — Lebanon›s Saad Al-Hariri said on Saturday he would travel to Beirut in the coming days and announce his position on the crisis in his country after holding talks with President Michel Aoun.

“With regard to the political situation in Lebanon, I will go to Beirut in the coming days, I will participate in the independence celebrations, and it is there that I will make known my position on these subjects after meeting President Aoun,” Hariri said after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Hariri arrived in France on Saturday from Saudi Arabia.

Hariri called Lebanese President Michel Aoun after his arrival in Paris and said he will take part in Independence Day celebrations in Beirut on Wednesday, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. He appeared in Paris — looking relaxed and posing with his wife and elder son on the steps of the Elysee Palace with the French presidential couple in front of a large crowd of journalists.

A source close to Hariri said the premier had held an “excellent, fruitful and constructive” meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, before he left.

“To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie,” he said in a Twitter post.

Hariri announced his resignation on Nov. 4.

He said he feared for his life, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilizing his country.

Hariri met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Riyadh on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Saturday asked its citizens for the second time in less than two weeks to leave Lebanon “as soon as possible” given the “circumstances” there.

The Arab League is due to hold a meeting on Sunday in Cairo where the Lebanon crisis and Iran’s role in the region are expected to be discussed. — Agencies