Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister this month while in Saudi Arabia, told President Michel Aoun in a phone call he would be in Lebanon on Wednesday for Independence Day celebrations, Aoun said on Twitter on Saturday.
Hariri arrived in Paris on Saturday with his wife from Riyadh, where he has been since he announced his resignation on 4 November.
Hariri’s abrupt resignation and continued stay in Saudi Arabia has caused fears for Lebanon’s stability. His visit to France with his family is seen as part of a possible way out of the crisis. Macron said on Friday he would welcome Hariri to Paris as Lebanon’s prime minister and expected him to return to Beirut in the “coming days, weeks”.
Okab Saqr, a member of parliament for Hariri’s Future Movement, had said that after Hariri’s visit to France he would have “a small Arab tour” before traveling to Beirut. The crisis has thrust Lebanon into the regional rivalry pitting Saudi Arabia and its allies against a bloc led by Iran, which includes the heavily armed Lebanese Shi‘ite Hezbollah group.
Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, has called Hariri a Saudi hostage and refused to accept his resignation unless he returns to Lebanon. Saudi Arabia and Hariri say his movements are not restricted. Reuters