Lebanon's Hariri to fly to Paris within
48 hours: source close to Hariri
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[November 16, 2017]
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Saad
al-Hariri is expected to leave Saudi Arabia for France within 48 hours,
before flying home to Beirut to officially submit his resignation as
Lebanese prime minister, a source close to Hariri told Reuters on
Hariri announced his resignation in a televised broadcast from Saudi
Arabia on Nov. 4, and has not yet returned to Lebanon. He said on
Wednesday he would return soon.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun tweeted on Thursday that he hoped the
country's political crisis was over following Hariri's acceptance of the
"I await the return of PM Hariri to Beirut so we can decide on the
situation of the government - if he wants to resign or rescind his
resignation," Aoun said, according to presidential sources.
Aoun has previously said he will not accept Hariri's resignation until
he returns to Beirut to tender it and explain his reasons.
The resignation of Hariri pushed Lebanon to the center of an
intensifying regional rivalry between Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni
Lebanese presidential sources quoted Aoun on Thursday as saying Lebanon
remained committed to its policy of "disassociation, especially among
Arab states". The disassociation policy is generally known in Lebanon to
mean staying out of regional conflicts. In his interview on Sunday,
Hariri repeatedly called for disassociation to be respected.
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Cars pass next to a poster depicting Former Prime Minister Saad
al-Hariri in Beirut, Lebanon, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Wednesday
that he had invited Hariri to France after speaking to him and Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The invitation is to visit for a
few days and is not an offer of political exile, Macron said,
speaking in Germany.
Hariri is expected to go to France with his family, the source close
to Hariri said.
Hariri traveled to Riyadh on Nov. 3 before abruptly resigning a day
later, and he has remained in the Saudi capital since then. Top
Lebanese officials and senior politicians close to Hariri have told
Reuters he was forced to quit.
Hariri and Saudi Arabia have both denied he is being held in Riyadh
or was coerced to resign.
(Reporting by Samia Nakhoul and Sarah Dadouch, Writing by Sarah
Dadouch; Editing by Gareth Jones)
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